Leaves: Evergreen. Needles are flat with a slight bend where they attach to the branch. Needles grow all the way around branches and reach 1-1½" long. They feel soft to the touch and have a distinct fragrance when crushed. Varies from green-blue to grey-green in color. Sometimes yellowish.
Bark/Twigs: Grey-brown bark is smooth on younger branches and develops fissures and ridges with age.
Flowers/Fruit: Inconspicuous flowers in mid-spring. Female cones are 3-4" long and 1½ -2” wide. They are light brown and have papery bracts sticking out of the cone scales. Scales are hard with smooth edges. Bracts have three prongs and look like a snake tongue or a mouse running into the cone with only its back legs and tail visible. When young, cones are bright violet-red with green bracts. Cones turn medium brown with light bracts when mature.
Mature size and shape: Large. 40-80'h x 12-20'w in landscape conditions. In nature, trees often reach over 200'. Open pyramid shape. Lower branches weep or droop slightly, middle branches are horizontal, and upper branches point skyward.
General information/special features: Plant in full sun to partial shade. Moist, well-drained soil is best. Not drought tolerant. Prefers slightly acidic soil. Does not tolerate dry, poor soil or wind. Not a true fir. One of the country’s top sources of lumber, providing telegraph/telephone poles and railroad ties when the West was settled.
Landscape use and Maintenance: Utah native. Good ornamental evergreen tree. Works in groups but should not be used as a windbreak as branches tend to break. One of the top major Christmas tree species. Average growing rate. Low maintenance. Transplants well.
USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-6
Family/Origin: Pinaceae – Pine. Native to the Pacific coastal states and Rocky Mountain states, including Utah. Not a true fir.
Campus use: Somewhat uncommon. Can be found north of LeRoy Cowles Building (bld 13) or south of Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building (Bld 45).