Evergreen trees with leaves linear, flat, scattered, sessile, spreading so as to appear 2-ranked, but in reality spirally arranged, usually persistent in drying (hence the young plants quite satisfactory as Christmas trees). Cones erect, cylindric or ovoid, maturing the first year, the scales falling from the persistent axis (hence the ripe cones do not fail from the tree intact, as in most other conifers).
1. A. balsamea (L.) Mill. Balsam Fir. A slender tree 10-25 m. tall, the trunk 1 m. in diameter; bark nearly smooth,but with resin blisters (hence the name "Blister-Pine" commonly used in the Alleghenies); leaves narrowly linear, obtusely pointed, 1-3. 2 cm. long, marked with two white lines beneath; cones cylindrical, 6-10 cm. long when mature; bracts obovate, serrulate, tipped with an abrupt slender point, shorter than or about equaling the scales. Woods, Labrador to Alberta, south to Iowa and the mountains of West Virginia (Fig. 2).
Fig. 2. Abies balsamea.