Balsam FirAbies balsamea
The Balsam fir has a narrow, symmetrical, spire-shaped, dense crown. On young and open grown trees the long lower branches extend nearly to the ground. The bark is dull green or pale gray, smooth except for numerous prominent resin blisters. With maturity it becomes a roughened, scaly red-brown, and on very old trunks is broken into small, irregular plates. The blisters contain an oily resin called balsam. The needles are shiny dark green above, silvery with two gray or white bands below. The tips are blunt, rounded, or notched. Immature cones are a dark purple turning gray-brown and disintegrating at maturity. The root system is shallow and spreading making it only moderately windfirm. It is adapted to a wide variety of sites from swamps to high rocky mountainsides, but Balsam fir grows best in cold climates with well-drained, acid, moist soil. It takes shade more than other firs, but does not tolerate polluted areas.