Conifers Garden - Online Conifer Nursery


Abies homolepis

Abies homolepis - Nikko fir, Urajiro-momi
  • Abies homolepis - Nikko fir, Urajiro-momi - Click to enlarge
  • Abies homolepis cone - Click to enlarge
  • Abies homolepis leaves - Click to enlarge


This product is currently out of stock

Product Information


Scientific name: Abies homolepis  Siebold et Zuccarini  1842

Synonyms: Abies brachyphylla Maxim., Abies brachyphylla var. tomomi (Bobbink & Atk. ex Rehder) Dallim. & A.B.Jacks., Abies finhonnoskiana R.Neumann ex Parl., Abies firma var. brachyphylla (Maxim.) Bertrand, Abies harryana W.R.McNab, Abies homolepis var. homolepis, Abies homolepis var. scottae McFarland, Abies homolepis var. tomomi Bobbink & Atk. ex Rehder, Abies tschonoskiana Regel, Picea brachyphylla (Maxim.) Gordon, Picea firma Mast., Picea homolepis (Siebold & Zucc.) Carrière, Picea homolepis (Siebold & Zucc.) Gord., Picea pinnosa Mast., Picea tschonofskiana (Regel) Mast., Pinus brachyphylla (Maxim.) Parl., Pinus finhonnoskiana Parl., Pinus harryana (W.R.McNab) W.R.McNab, Pinus homolepis (Siebold & Zucc.) Antoine, Pinus tschonoskiana Parl.

Common names: Nikko fir (English), Urajiro-momi (Japanese)



Tree to 30(-40) m tall, with trunk to 1(-1.5) m in diameter. Bark gray, becoming browner and flaky with age. Branchlets hairless and shiny, deeply grooved between the leaf bases. Buds 3-5 mm long, moderately to heavily resinous. Needles arranged to the sides of the twigs in several rows, 1-2.5(-3.5) cm long, shiny dark green above, the tips sharply forked on young trees, simply notched or blunt on older ones. Individual needles flat in cross section and with a large resin canal in the center of each side of the leaf, without stomates above and with 11-13 lines of stomates in each white stomatal band beneath. Pollen cones 10-20 mm long, yellowish brown. Seed cones (7-)9-12 cm long, 3-4 cm across, dark purple when young, ripening purplish brown. Bracts about half as long as the seed scales and hidden by them (hence the scientific name “uniform scales”, in contrast to Abies firma). Persistent cone axis narrowly cylindrical. Seed body 6-9 mm long, the wing about as long. Cotyledons four (or five).

Central Honshū, Kii Peninsula, and Shikoku (Japan). Occasionally forming pure stands but more often mixed with numerous other montane forest conifers and fewer hardwoods in the elevational belt between Abies firma and Abies veitchii; (700-)1,000-1,800(-2,200) m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened

The fragmentation of the outlying populations with consequent reduction in population size and range in the recent past gives rise to the possibility of Abies homolepis becoming threatened in the future, especially if Japanese deer numbers continue to increase. Therefore, the use of the Near Threatened category is justified.

Abies homolepis is a species of high mountains in the central parts of the Japanese islands Honshu and Shikoku. In the south it occurs from 1,100 m to 1,800 m a.s.l., in Honshu between 700 m and 2,200 m. The soils are mesic, derived from volcanic rock and usually well drained. The climate is cool and humid. Near the tree limit it forms either pure stands, or mixtures with Abies veitchii and/or Larix kaempferi, but at lower elevations it occurs in the mixed coniferous deciduous forests, with e.g. Fagus crenata, Quercus crispula, Betula grossa, Tsuga diversifolia, Thuja standishii, Pinus densiflora. Abies firma replaces Abies homolepis below 1,100 m.

Because the value of timber is low, Nikko Fir has not been used as a timber tree to any significant extent. As a result, there are many relatively large subpopulations remaining in central Honshu. However, Japanese Deer are a serious problem, reducing regeneration and sometimes killing larger trees through ring-barking.

Nikko fir is not an important timber tree as its range is limited and it occurs at high altitudes. It is fairly widely planted as an ornamental tree in Japan as well as in Europe, where it appears to be one of the least demanding species in the genus. A few cultivars are known in Japan as well as in Europe (independently derived), mostly being dwarfed forms suitable for Japanese gardens or rockeries.

There is no special protection system for this variety. However, most localities are now at least protected from logging.



Abies homolepis ‘Aurea’
Abies homolepis ‘Aureovariegata’
Abies homolepis ‘Auslese Veredlung’
Abies homolepis ‘Danuš’  
Abies homolepis ‘Fastigiata’
Abies homolepis ‘F. R. Newman’
Abies homolepis ‘Havel’  
Abies homolepis ‘Kohout’s Mini’
Abies homolepis ‘Kohout’s Select’  
Abies homolepis ‘Malahide’
Abies homolepis ‘Molehill’
Abies homolepis ‘Nana’
Abies homolepis ‘Nefrit’
Abies homolepis ‘Nefrit’  
Abies homolepis ‘Pendula’
Abies homolepis ‘Prostrata’
Abies homolepis ‘Radka’
Abies homolepis ‘Scottiae’  
Abies homolepis ‘Shelter Island’
Abies homolepis ‘Tomomi’
Abies homolepis ‘Variegated’



  • 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 CodeABIZF53K52
Weight1.5 kg
Height15 - 20 cm

This field is required.