Sonntag, 1. Mai 2011

Plant of the Day (May 1st, 2011) - Abies nordmannia Stev. Spach.

The last days, I've introduced you to two plants of the Pinaceae, that are native to Western USA (Picea breweriana S. Watson and Pinus jeffreyi Ball. ex. A. Murray). So today we'll take a closer look of a European member of this family:Abies nordmannia Stev. Spach.(English: “Nordmann Fir”; German: “Nordmanntanne”). It the classical Christmas tree.

A. nordmannia - Habitus

This tree is between 30 and 60 metres (131,23 – 196,9) tall. The treetops of young trees are conical, but with age, the branches become longer than the peak This characteristic type of growing is called “Stork nest”.

The needles are short. Their upper side is dark green; the underside has two white stripes of stomatas. The bark is grey or brown.
A. nordmannia - branches & needles
 
The male cones are reddish-purple or yellowish-purple. They are sitting into the axial of the needles. The cylindrical female cones are green, later brown. Like at all species of the genus Abies the female cones of the Nordmann fir dissolve in many small seeds after maturity. So you will never find cones of firs at the forest bottom; this is just an urban myth.

 A. nordmannia - male cones

A. nordmannia is native to the Caucasus in Georgia, Russia and Eastern Turkey. The tree prefers mountainous regions between 900 and 2100 metres (2652,8 – 6889,8 feet). It grows on clay and likes cool moist sides so you can find the species at North slopes, where it's not so dry and hot. In Germany, the tree is planted as a forest tree.

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