With Christmas only two months away, I thought I would get in the spirit with a few facts on one of my favourite Christmas trees – The Fir Tree!
Five Favourite Facts About Firs
- Fir Trees fall under the Abies Genus. There are about 50 species in the subsequent Pinaceae family. Note that the Douglas Fir is not actually a member of the Abies Genus, instead falling under the Genus Pseudotsuga.
2. Fir Trees are symmetrical, evergreen, coniferous trees that range in mature height from 10-80 metres. Their branches grow in a whorl around the tree each year, making it easy to figure out the age of the tree. They have erect cones that face up, instead of down like in so many other evergreen species. These cones mature in one season and disintegrate by winter. The root system of the fir tree also helps to prevent soil erosion.
3. Fir Trees can be found across North America, Europe, Asia and North Africa, preferring mountainous regions, but tolerating many other regions if there is cool, moist, well-drained soil available. They prefer full sun, but some species can tolerate partial shade.
4. In aromatherapy uses, as an essential oil, Fir is beneficial for coughs, colds, flu, arthritis, muscle aches and rheumatism. It’s properties include being an analgesic, antiseptic, antitussive, Deodorant, disinfectant and expectorant. It has uplifting qualities and is considered a stimulant, bringing alertness to the mind or fighting general fatigue. It blends well with other evergreen oils, such as Pine, Spruce and Cedarwood, but also with Blue Chamomile, Lavender, Lemon or Rosemary. It is considered non-irritating, non-sensitizing and non-toxic, but always consult with a physician before use, especially when pregnant.
5. When they are not used in the pulpwood industry, or for stuffing pillows, a favourite use for Fir Trees is for fresh-cut Christmas trees! Balsam, Fraser, Noble, Canaan, and White (Concolor) Firs all make perfect selections for your festive Christmas Decor. The boughs from fir trees are often used to make wreaths and other Christmas Decor items. Even though the Douglas Fir isn’t a true fir, it makes for a pretty Christmas tree too!
And one more bonus fact:
Fir Tree Appreciation Day is June 18th. You’d think it would be closer to Christmas, but what do I know? Have you put up your lights yet?
- A, B, C of Canadian Trees (clctreeservices.wordpress.com)
- Coniferous Trees of Ontario (clctreeservices.wordpress.com)
- Gary Young’s Blog “The Power of Balsam Fir and Spruce” (shannonziegler.com)