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Abies koreana

Abies koreana
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Product Information

Scientific name: Abies koreana  E.H.Wilson  1920

Synonyms: Abies koreana f. nigrocarpa Hatus.

Common names: Korean fir, Kusang namu (Korean)



Tree to 18 m tall, with trunk to 0.8 m in diameter. Bark pale gray, darkening and breaking up into blocks with age. Young branchlets with a few hairs in the shallow grooves between the leaf bases, but these soon lost. Buds 3-5 mm long, lightly resinous. Needles standing out all around the twigs, although shorter, denser, and curved above, mostly 1-2 cm long, shining dark green above, widest near the pointed (on cone-bearing branches) or notched tip. Pollen cones 8-15 mm long, red. Seeds cones cylindrical, 4-6(-7) cm long, 2-3 cm across, rich purple when young, maturing purplish brown. Seed body 5-6 mm long, the wing only about half as long.

Cheju (Quelpart) Island and nearby mainland South Korea. Mostly mixed with other conifers and hardwoods in the subalpine forest of mountain summits; 1,000-1,850 m. The climate is cool temperate, with a summer monsoon bringing the annual precipitation above 1,600 mm.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered

The Korean Fir (Abies koreana) has an estimated area of occupancy (AOO) of about 12 km².  It occurs in four fragmented locations; Mt. Gaya, Mt. Chiri and Mt. Togyu on the mainland and Mt. Halla on the remote Jeju Island. The distances between each location range from 40–250 km and are likely to be too great to allow for effective gene flow. There is clear and documented evidence of a continuing decline in the AOO and quality of habitat due to a number of factors which include the effects of climate change, pathogen attack and on Mt. Halla the invasion of pines and bamboo (Sasa). For these reasons A. koreana has been assessed as Endangered. The conservation status of this species needs to be carefully monitored as if there is a further reduction of the current AOO of 12 km² to 10 km² or below, then it will qualify as Critically Endangered. Abies koreana is facing critical population declines (Kim et al. 1998). Regional decline of Abies koreana was first recognized in 1980s (Woo 2009). Abies koreana grows in pure stands or mixed with Betula ermanii, Taxus cuspidata, Prunus maximowiczii, Prunus sargentii, Cornus kousa with an understory of Sasa quelpartensis on Cheju Island. On the mainland it is also mixed with Picea jezoensis, Pinus koraiensis, Pinus densiflora, Taxus cuspidata, Quercus mongolica var. mandshurica, Cornus controversa, Acer spp. Fraxinus sieboldiana, Magnolia sieboldii, Sorbus commixta, and several genera of low shrubs, e.g. Juniperus, Deutzia, Ribes and Rhododendron. The forest is usually open and essentially dominated by conifers, with Abies koreana a minor component. It is afforded protection in all its locations, however even with protection 10% of the Togyu (Deok-yu) National Park was destroyed during the development of a ski resort. To reverse the decline of this species and preserve the genetic diversity, it is necessary to increase natural regeneration from seeds. The Korean Fir is a small to medium sized tree that grows slowly and together with its rarity these qualities make it unsuitable as a timber tree. Because of its small stature and compact growth it has been widely used as an ornamental tree, particularly for small gardens.



  • 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 CodeABII06ZX58
Weight1.5 kg
Height15 - 20 cm

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