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Abies guatemalensis

Abies guatemalensis
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Product Information

Scientific name: Abies guatemalensis  (Alfred Rehder, 1939)

Synonyms: Abies tacanensis Lundell, Abies zapotekensis Debreczy, I.Rácz & G.Ramirez

Common names: Guatemalan fir, Pashaque fir, Abeto de Guatemala, Pinabete (Spanish)



Tree to 35( - 45) m tall, withtrunk to 1( - 1,5) m in diameter. Bark grayish brown, breaking up somewhat with age. Branchlets somewhat hairy, especially near the tips on lower branches, grooved between the leaf bases. Buds 4-5 mm long, resinous. Needles arranged mostly to the sides in several ranks and with a few shorter needles angled forward above the twigs, (1-)2.5-5.5 cm long, shiny dark or light green above, the tip usually notched but sometimes bluntly pointed. Individual needles flat in cross section and with a resin canal on either side near the outer edge and touching the lower epidermis, without or with three or four discontinuous rows of stomates in the groove above near the tip and with 8-12 rows in each silvery white stomatal band beneath. Pollen cones 15-25 mm long, yellow. Seed cones oblong, (6-)8-10(-12) cm long, (2.5-)4-5.5 cm across, purple when young, maturing dark brown. Bracts from half as long as the minutely hairy seed scales and hidden by them to about as long and peaking out between them. Persistent cone axis narrowly conical. Seed body 8-10 mm long, the wing a little longer. Cotyledons five or six.

Pacific slope of southern Mesoamerica, from Coahuila, San Luis Potosí, and eastern Guerrero (southern Mexico) to Santa Barbara (western Honduras). Forming pure stands or, more commonly, mixed with other conifers and hardwoods on moist soils in the high mountains; (1,500-)3,200-3,800(-4,100) m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered

Historically Abies guatemalensis has been an important timber species and as a result considerable loss of forest cover has occurred which is estimated to be ca. 50% over three generations (a generation here is estimated to 25–30 years). The loss of forest due to logging still continues today but at a slower rate. The recent trend of using the species for Christmas decorations in Guatemala and expanding urbanization has added to its decline. The area of occupancy of what remains has been estimated as being 270 km2 which is well within the threshold of 500 km2 for being classified as Endangered. This estimate is based on 258 km2 given by Andersen et al. (2006) for 92 of the 119 known forests plus an estimate of between 0.15 and 0.20 km2 for the remaining 26 forests. Deforestation has caused severe fragmentation and there continues to be a decline in the extent of occurrence and area of occupancy which has lead to the loss of some locations and a mature individuals. This species has therefore been assessed as being ‘Endangered’ under the A2 and B2 criteria. Abies guatemalensis is usually associated with several highland conifers, such as Abies religiosa, Cupressus lusitanica, Pinus ayacahuite, Pinus hartwegii, Pinus michoacana, Pinus montezumae and Pinus pseudostrobus. At lower elevations Arbutus spp., Juniperus spp. and Quercus spp. co-occur and open forest stands are dominated by Arbutus xalapensis, Baccharis vaccinioides, Cestrum guatemalense, Litsea glaucescens, Rubus trilobus, Salvia cinnabarina and Sambucus mexicana. Felling is prohibited in some countries and the species is listed in CITES Appendix I. Although the model of strict protection, for example in national parks or nature reserves, may work in developed countries, it is problematic in poor countries where local communities make a livelihood from exploitation of natural resources, therefore, future conservation of Abies gutemalensis has to develop strategies, which work with the local people and give them clear benefits from conservation measures (Andersen et al. 2006). There needs to be a long-term sustainable management plan put in place in collaboration with local communities which should include supplying large quantities of sustainably produced greenery to the market and so reducing the potential of poaching within protected sites.



  • Farjon, A. (2010). A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.
  • Eckenwalder, J.E. (2009) Conifers of the World: The Complete Reference. Timber Press, Portland.
  • IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Cambridge, UK /Gland, Switzerland

Copyright © Aljos Farjon, James E. Eckenwalder, IUCN, Conifers Garden. All rights reserved.

Product CodeABIFLT9L1
Weight1.5 kg
Height20 - 30 cm

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