Plantae > Tracheophyta > Pinopsida > Pinales > Pinaceae > Abies > Abies balsamea

Abies balsamea (Canadian fir; balsam fir; Eastern fir; Balm of Gilead fir)

Language: Chi; Dut; Fre; Ger; Hrv, Srp; Hun; Ita; Rus; Slo

Wikipedia Abstract

Abies balsamea or balsam fir is a North American fir, native to most of eastern and central Canada (Newfoundland west to central British Columbia) and the northeastern United States (Minnesota east to Maine, and south in the Appalachian Mountains to West Virginia).
View Wikipedia Record: Abies balsamea



Height [3]  49 feet (15 m)
Width [3]  16.4 feet (5 m)
Air Quality Improvement [1]  Low
Allergen Potential [1]  Low
Carbon Capture [1]  Low
Screening - Summer [2]  Dense
Screening - Winter [2]  Dense
Shade Percentage [1]  91 %
Temperature Reduction [1]  Low
Wind Reduction [1]  Medium
Hardiness Zone Minimum [1]  USDA Zone: 4 Low Temperature: -30 F° (-34.4 C°) → -20 F° (-28.9 C°)
Hardiness Zone Maximum [1]  USDA Zone: 6 Low Temperature: -10 F° (-23.3 C°) → 0 F° (-17.8 C°)
Light Preference [2]  Mostly Shady
Soil Acidity [2]  Very Acid
Soil Fertility [2]  Intermediate
Water Use [1]  Low
Flower Color [2]  Yellow
Foliage Color [2]  Green
Fruit Color [2]  Brown
Bloom Period [2]  Mid Summer
Drought Tolerance [2]  Low
Edible [3]  May be edible. See the Plants For A Future link below for details.
Fire Tolerance [2]  Low
Flower Type [3]  Monoecious
Frost Free Days [2]  80 days
Fruit/Seed Abundance [2]  Medium
Fruit/Seed Begin [2]  Fall
Fruit/Seed End [2]  Fall
Growth Form [2]  Single Stem
Growth Period [2]  Spring, Summer
Growth Rate [2]  Slow
Hazards [3]  The oleoresin (Canada balsam) is reported to produce dermatitis when applied as perfume; The foliage has also induced contact dermatitis;
Janka Hardness [4]  400 lbf (181 kgf) Very Soft
Leaf Type [3]  Evergreen
Lifespan [2]  Perennial
Pollinators [3]  Wind
Propagation [2]  Bare Root, Container, Seed
Root Depth [2]  20 inches (51 cm)
Scent [3]  The leaves are strongly aromatic of balsam when crushed.
Seed Spread Rate [2]  Slow
Seed Vigor [2]  Low
Seeds Per [2]  59840 / lb (131924 / kg)
Shape/Orientation [2]  Conical
Specific Gravity [5]  0.35
Structure [3]  Tree
Usage [3]  The balsamic resin 'Balm of Gilead'; Another report says that it is a turpentine; The term Canada Balsam is a misnomer because balsams are supposed to contain benzoic and cinnamic acids, both absent from the Canada oleoresin; Turpentine is also a misnomer, implying that the oleoresin is entirely steam volatile. Actually it contains 70 - 80% resin, only 16 - 20% volatile oil; Canada Balsam yields 15 - 25% volatile oil, the resin being used for caulking and incense; It is used medicinally and in dentistry, also in the manufacture of glues, candles and as a cement for microscopes and slides - it has a high refractive index resembling that of glass; The pitch has also been used as a waterproofing material for the seams of canoes; The average yield is about 8 - 10 oz per tree; The resin is also a fixative in soaps and perfumery; "Turpentine" is usually collected during July-August by breaking the turpentine blisters into small metal cans with sharp-pointed lids. Trees are then allowed to recuperate for 1 - 2 years before being harvested again; The leaves and young branches are used as a stuffing material for pillows etc - they impart a pleasant scent; The leaves contain an average of 0.65% essential oil, though it can go up to 1.4% or even higher; One analysis of the essential oils reports 14.6% bornyl acetate, 36.1% b-pinene, 11.1% 3-carene, 11.1% limonene, 6.8% camphene, and 8.4% a-pinene; To harvest the oil, it would appear that the branches should be snipped off younger trees in early spring; Fifteen year old trees yield 70% more leaf oil than 110-year-old trees; oil yields are highest in January - March and September, they are lowest from April to August; A thread can be made from the roots; Wood - light, soft, coarse grained, not strong, not very durable. Weighs 24lb per cubic foot; Used mainly for pulp, it is not used much for lumber except in the manufacture of crates etc; The wood is commercially valuable for timber even though it is relatively soft, weak, and perishable; Balsam fir is used in the US for timber and plywood, and is the mainstay of the pulp wood industry in the Northeast. The wood, which is rich in pitch, burns well and can be used as a kindling[257]
Vegetative Spread Rate [2]  None
View Plants For A Future Record : Abies balsamea

Protected Areas

Name IUCN Category Area acres Location Species Website Climate Land Use
Acadia National Park II 35996 Maine, United States
Algonquin Provincial Park IV 1868802 Ontario, Canada
Bruce Peninsula National Park II   Ontario, Canada
Cape Breton Highlands National Park II 234333 Nova Scotia, Canada  
Chippewa Nature Center   Michigan, United States    
Forillon National Park II 61010 Quebec, Canada  
Fundy National Park II 52716 New Brunswick, Canada
Georgian Bay Islands National Park II   Ontario, Canada
Gros Morne National Park II 476632 Newfoundland, Canada
Hubbard Brook Biosphere Reserve 7809 New Hampshire, United States
Isle Royale Biosphere Reserve Ib 571799 Michigan, United States
Kejimkujik National Park II 94203 Nova Scotia, Canada
Kouchibouguac National Park II 59161 New Brunswick, Canada
La Mauricie National Park II 131706 Quebec, Canada
Lake Superior Provincial Park IV 351011 Ontario, Canada
Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve II 20461 Quebec, Canada
Morristown National Historical Park VI 1677 New Jersey, United States
Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve 470167 Ontario, Canada  
Polar Bear Provincial Park 5502026 Ontario, Canada
Prince Albert National Park II 976762 Saskatchewan, Canada
Prince Edward Island National Park II   Prince Edward Island, Canada  
Pukaskwa National Park II 459860 Ontario, Canada
Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve II 762028 Manitoba, Canada
Terra Nova National Park IV 125894 Newfoundland, Canada
Winisk River Provincial Park II 434735 Ontario, Canada
Wood Buffalo National Park II 11038545 Alberta, Canada
Woodland Caribou Provincial Wilderness Park Provincial Park II 1072124 Ontario, Canada

Emblem of

New Brunswick


Acleris gloveranus (Western Blackheaded Budworm)[6]
Acleris variana (Black-headed budworm)[6]
Acronicta innotata (Unmarked Dagger Moth)[6]
Acronicta lepusculina (cottonwood dagger moth)[6]
Acronicta sperata (Hopeful Dagger Moth)[6]
Adelges nordmannianae[7]
Adelges piceae[7]
Amorbia humerosana[6]
Anacamptodes ephyraria[6]
Anacamptodes vellivolata[6]
Aplectoides condita[6]
Archepandemis borealis[6]
Archepandemis morrisana[6]
Archips alberta[6]
Archips packardiana[6]
Archips strianus[6]
Argyresthia abies[6]
Argyrotaenia occultana[6]
Argyrotaenia pinatubana[6]
Argyrotaenia velutinana[6]
Automeris io (Io moth)[6]
Barbara mappana[6]
Campaea perlata (light emerald)[6]
Caripeta angustiorata (brown pine looper)[6]
Caripeta divisata (gray spruce looper)[6]
Chionaspis heterophyllae (pine scale)[8]
Chionaspis pinifoliae (pine leaf scale)[8]
Choristoneura fumiferana[6]
Choristoneura murinana[6]
Choristoneura occidentalis[6]
Choristoneura pinus (Jack Pine Budworm)[6]
Choristoneura rosaceana (Oblique Banded Leaf Roller)[6]
Cinara confinis[7]
Cingilia catenaria (chainspotted geometer)[6]
Clemensia albata[6]
Coleotechnites atrupictella[6]
Dasychira plagiata (Northern Pine Tussock)[6]
Dasychira vagans[6]
Dioryctria abietivorella[6]
Dolichomia thymetusalis[6]
Ectropis crepuscularia (small engrailed)[6]
Elaphria versicolor (Variegated Midget)[6]
Endothenia albolineana[6]
Epermenia albapunctella[6]
Epinotia balsameae[6]
Eucosma tocullionana[6]
Eueretagrotis perattentus (Two-Spot Dart)[6]
Eufidonia discospilata[6]
Eufidonia notataria (Powder Moth)[6]
Eulithis explanata[6]
Eupithecia albicapitata[6]
Eupithecia annulata[6]
Eupithecia filmata[6]
Eupithecia gibsonata[6]
Eupithecia lariciata (Larch Pug)[6]
Eupithecia luteata[6]
Eupithecia mutata (cloaked pug)[6]
Eupithecia palpata (Small Pine Looper)[6]
Eupithecia transcanadata[6]
Eutrapela clemataria[6]
Hemerocampa leucostigma (White-marked tussock moth)[9]
Hyalophora columbia (Columbia Silkmoth)[6]
Hydriomena divisaria[6]
Hydriomena furcata (July Highflyer)[6]
Hydriomena renunciata[6]
Hypagyrtis piniata (pine measuringworm)[6]
Hypoprepia fucosa (painted lichen moth)[6]
Lambdina fervidaria (Curve-lined Looper)[6]
Lambdina fiscellaria (hemlock looper)[6]
Lithophane fagina[6]
Lithophane innominata (Nameless Pinion)[6]
Lophocampa argentata (silverspotted tiger moth)[6]
Loxia leucoptera (White-winged Crossbill)[9]
Lymantria dispar (gypsy moth)[6]
Malacosoma disstria (forest tent caterpillars)[6]
Marmara fasciella[6]
Melandrya barbata <Unverified Name>[7]
Melanolophia canadaria[6]
Melanolophia imitata (Western Carpet)[6]
Mindarus abietinus[7]
Nemoria mimosaria (White-fringed Emerald)[6]
Neophasia menapia (Pine butterfly)[6]
Nepytia canosaria (false hemlock looper)[6]
Nepytia semiclusaria (pine conelet looper)[6]
Nycteola revayana (Oak Nycteoline)[6]
Orgyia antiqua (Rusty Tussock Moth)[6]
Orthosia hibisci (green fruitworm)[6]
Palthis angulalis (Dark-spotted Palthis)[6]
Panthea acronyctoides (Black Zigzag)[6]
Paralobesia piceana[6]
Peridroma saucia (variegated cutworm)[6]
Pero morrisonaria (Morrison's Pero)[6]
Phlogophora periculosa (Brown Angle Shades)[6]
Probole amicaria[6]
Prociphilus fraxini[7]
Sciurus griseus (western gray squirrel)[10]
Semiothisa bisignata (redheaded inchworm)[6]
Semiothisa granitata[6]
Semiothisa oweni[6]
Semiothisa signaria[6]
Solenobia walshella[6]
Sparganothis sulfureana[6]
Sparganothis tristriata[6]
Sphinx poecila (Poecila Sphinx)[6]
Synaxis pallulata[6]
Syndemis afflictana[6]
Syngrapha abstrusa (Abstruse False Looper)[6]
Syngrapha alias (Hooked Silver Y)[6]
Syngrapha rectangula (Salt and Pepper Looper)[6]
Syngrapha selecta (Chosen Looper Moth)[6]
Syngrapha viridisigma[6]
Tetracis cachexiata (White Slant-line)[6]
Thallophaga hyperborea (Northern Thallophaga)[6]
Tolype laricis[6]
Urocerus albicornis <Unverified Name>[7]
Xestia badicollis (Northern Variable Dart)[6]
Xestia praevia[6]
Zeiraphera canadensis (Spruce Bud Moth)[6]
Zeiraphera diniana[6]
Zeiraphera ratzeburgiana (Spruce bud moth)[6]


Parasitized by 
Adelges piceae (balsam woolly adelgid)[9]
Melampsorella caryophyllacearum[9]

Range Map

Canada, North Central and NE USA: south to Virginia. TDWG: 71 ABT MAN SAS 72 LAB NBR NFL-NE NFL-SP 74 IOW MIN WIS 75 CNT MAI MAS MIC NWH NWJ NWY PEN VER WVA 78 VRG; Canada, North Central and NE. U.S.A.: south to Virginia TDWG: 71 ABT MAN SAS 72 LAB NBR NFL-NE NFL-SP 74 IOW MIN WIS 75 CNT MAI MAS MIC NWH NWJ NWY PEN VER WVA 78 VRG;



Attributes / relations provided by
1i-Tree Species v. 4.0, developed by the USDA Forest Service's Northern Research Station and SUNY-ESF using the Horticopia, Inc. plant database.
2USDA Plants Database, U. S. Department of Agriculture
3Plants For A Future licensed under a Creative Commons License
4Wood Janka Hardness Scale/Chart J W Morlan's Unique Wood Gifts
5Forest Inventory and Analysis DB version 5.1, May 4, 2013, U.S. Forest Service
6HOSTS - a Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants Gaden S. Robinson, Phillip R. Ackery, Ian J. Kitching, George W. Beccaloni AND Luis M. Hernández
7Biological Records Centre Database of Insects and their Food Plants
8Ben-Dov, Y., Miller, D.R. & Gibson, G.A.P. ScaleNet 4 November 2009
9Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
10Sciurus griseus, Leslie N. Carraway and B. J. Verts, MAMMALIAN SPECIES No. 474, pp. 1-7 (1994)
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Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License
Weather provided by NOAA METAR Data Access