Bracted Balsam Fir (abies balsamea var phanerolepis), is a coniferous tree that is native to the Appalachian Mountains of the southeastern United States. It is a popular Christmas tree due to its attractive appearance and pleasant aroma.
The Bracted Balsam fir typically grows to a height of 30-50 feet (9-15 meters), with a narrow, pyramidal shape. It has dark green needles that are flattened and about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in length, with two white stripes on the underside. The needles are arranged in a spiral pattern on the branches.
The tree’s cones are erect, cylindrical, and measure 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) in length. They are usually a shade of purple and have thin, papery scales. The Bracted Balsam fir’s bark is smooth and grayish-brown, with resin blisters that produce a fragrant, sticky sap.
One notable feature of the Bracted Balsam fir is its bracts, which are modified leaves that surround the base of the tree’s cones. These bracts are usually dark purple or reddish-brown and provide a striking contrast to the tree’s green needles.
Overall, the Bracted Balsam fir is a beautiful and distinctive tree that is prized for its ornamental value and its use as a Christmas tree.