The Fir tribe are suitable for ornamenting the shrubbery or lawn, when planted in groups, but not proper for single specimens. "They are remarkable for the regularity and symmetry of their pyramidal heads. The leaves are solitary, needle-shaped, rigid, sempervirent, supposed by botanists formed of two, grown together. They are distinguished from the other Pines by the smoothness of their bark, in which are formed cavities or crypts, containing their peculiar balsam; by the silvery whiteness of the under surface of the seemingly two-rowed leaves, and by their long, erect cones, formed- of woody deciduous scales, with a smooth, thin edge.
"Picea balsamifera. - The Balsam Fir. - This beautiful evergreen resembles the Spruce in its regular pyramidal form. It differs from it in its bark, which is smooth when young, and continues so until it has attained a considerable age; in its leaves, which are nearly flat, and of a beautiful silver color beneath; and in having large, upright cones. It has a strong resemblance to the Silver Fir of Europe, a much loftier and nobler tree. The American tree is known by the name of the Fir Balsam, or Balsam Fir, or simply Fir." "It is hardy, easily transplanted, and grows rapidly and with great vigor, and possesses in a high degree the most important qualities of the evergreens, as an ornamental tree, - a regular pyramidal shape, and rich, deep-green foliage. The large cones, with which the upper branches are often loaded, give it additional beauty. Its defects are its stiffness, and the raggedness which it assmnes in old age, which comes on early, as it is a short-lived tree.
Its chief recommendations are its hardiness, and quickness of growth." - (Emerson.)
P. Fraseri. - The Double Balsam Fir. - According to Emerson, this species has a great resemblance to the Balsam Fir, with very little to distinguish them, except that, in the Double Fir, the leaves are usually more crowded. "The mature cone presents a ready and certain distinction. It is of about half the length, and two thirds the thickness, of the common Fir. There are, also, some other small differences, which, however, are not sufficient, in the eyes of the common people, to make two distinct species. From the great richness and luxuriance of the foliage, the Double Balsam is a very beautiful tree, and its leaves diffuse a peculiarly agreeable resinous odor." It is a smaller tree than the Balsam Fir.