The Balsam fir (Abies balsamea) is a North American conifer native to most of eastern and central Canada: the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario, much of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and parts of Alberta as well as the northeastern United States. It is a small to medium-size evergreen typically growing 6 to 8 inches per year, eventually reaching 40 to 60 feet tall in cultivation, with a narrow conic crown. The bushy branches are covered with attractive,  bright green, extremely fragrant needles that invite touch. Both its beauty and fragrance have also made it one of the most popular choices for a  Christmas tree. 

As for the home landscape, it makes an excellent specimen that is less likely to overwhelm its surroundings as some of the larger conifers are prone to do. And its dense foliage makes it well suited to screen and windbreak. More practically it produces a resin used for mounting microscopic specimens, cementing optical systems, and in the production of medicinal compounds and varnishes. And for the wild-life friendly garden Balsam fir provides food and cover for moose, deer, birds and squirrels.

It grows best in full sun, in acidic, moist, but well-drained soil. Balsam firs are also popular throughout the UK as well as temperate Australia and New Zealand. There are several cultivars as well which offer variations on color, form and size and are usually found at only the better tree nurseries.


Balsam fir

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