Fraser fir is a high-altitude tree and related to the northern Balsam fir. Abies fraseri occupies a very restricted native range in higher locations in the southern Appalachian mountains. Interestingly, this tree is commonly planted at lower elevations for ornamental and Christmas tree
purposes and may lead to its ultimate salvation. Acid rain and the woolly adelgid are taking a direct and high toll on naturally occurring stands of Fraser fir.
Photos Use by Permission - Bill Cook, ForestryImages.org
Forestryimages.org provides several images of parts of the Fraser fir. The tree is a conifer and the lineal taxonomy is Pinopsida > Pinales > Pinaceae > Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir. Frasier fir is also commonly called balsam fir, eastern fir, fraser balsam fir, southern balsam, southern fir.
Fraser fir is widely used as a Christmas tree. Its fragrance, shape, strong limbs, and ability to retain its soft needles for a long time when cut (which do not prick easily when hanging ornaments) make it one of the best trees for this purpose. The Fraser fir has been used more times as the Blue Room Christmas tree (the official Christmas tree
of the President of the United States's White House) than any other type of tree. In the UK it is grown in plantations in Scotland and sold by the thousand throughout the UK and Éire.
The Range of Fraser Fir
Fraser fir has a unique distribution, restricted to high elevations in the southern Appalachian Mountains of southwestern Virginia, western North Carolina, and eastern Tennessee. It is the only fir endemic to the southern Appalachian Mountains. The largest tree on record measures almost 86 cm (34 in) in d.b.h., 26.5 m (87 ft) tall, and has a crown spread of 15.8 m (52 ft).
Fraser fir is considered one of the most popular Christmas trees in the United States. Fraser fir and balsam fir are very close relatives and botanists argue that they are actually different species. The slender growth habit makes it appealing to buyers looking for a tree for small rooms.
Fraser fir is probably easily killed by fire. No specific information on the intensity of fire needed to kill Fraser fir is available.