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Abies kawakamii

Abies kawakamii
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Product Information

Scientific name: Abies kawakamii  (Hayata) T. Itô  1909

Synonyms: Abies mariesii var. kawakamii Hayata

Common names: Formosan fir, Taiwan fir, Kawakami fir, Taiwan lengshan (Chinese)



Tree to 20(-25) m tall, with trunk to 1 m in diameter. Bark pale gray, soon becoming scaly and later darkening and becoming furrowed. Branchlets densely hairy, grooved between the leaf bases. Buds 4-5 mm long, very resinous. Needles arranged densely to the sides and above the twigs, where shorter, (0.5-)1-2(-3) cm long, glossy bright deep green above, the tips rounded or slightly notched. Pollen cones 9-13 mm long, greenish yellow. Seed cones oblong, 5-7.5(-9) cm long, 3-4.5 cm across, reddish purple when young, maturing purplish brown. Seed body (6-)7-9 mm long, the wing about as long.

Central mountain ranges of Taiwan. Forming pure stands and mixed with other conifers and a few hardwoods in the subalpine zone, particularly on the northern and northeastern side of the peaks; (2,400-)2,800-3,500(-3,800) m. The climate is temperate, super humid: above humid subtropical foothills the annual precipitation exceeds 4,000 mm, with maxima up to 10,000 mm, making the Taiwanese central high mountains one of the wettest mountain ranges in the world.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened

Abies kawakamii has a limited extent of occurrence and area of occupancy that are within the thresholds for Endangered under B1 and B2 criteria. Subpopulations could be considered severely fragmented and there are between five and ten locations when fire is considered as the main potential threat. However, as there is currently no evidence of a continuing decline, an assessment of Near Threatened is appropriate. At elevations above 3,000 m this species is the dominant tree and can form large stands. There are some pure forests on the N and NE slopes at these high elevations (3,200 m to 3,600 m a.s.l.), or the species occurs mixed with scattered Pinus armandii var. mastersiana, Tsuga chinensis var. chinensis, Picea morrisonicola, and with Juniperus squamata var. morrisonicola at the upper limit of Abies. At lower elevations the forest becomes progressively more mixed with broad-leaved trees, e.g. Acer insulare, Trochodendron aralioides, Quercus semecarpifolia subsp. glabra, Ilex bioritsensis, and Eurya spp. Other conifers in this belt are Tsuga chinensis var. chinensis, which becomes more abundant than Abies kawakamii between 2,400 m and 3,000 m a.s.l., Pseudotsuga sinensis, and Chamaecyparis obtusa var. formosana, which is more abundant below 2,400 m. This species was introduced to England in 1930 and is occasionally found in arboreta in Europe and North America, but remains uncommon in cultivation. Parts of the population of this species occur within protected areas.



  • 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 CodeABISBCL832
Weight1.5 kg
Height15 - 20 cm

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