The Korean fir (Abies koreana E.H. Wilson) is an arboreal species belonging to the Pinaceae family.
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
A. koreana species
The term is synonymous:
– Abies koreana f. nigrocarpa Hatus ..
The term Abies comes from Abies which is the classical Latin name (Virgil, Egloghe, from the Sanskrit root abh gush of resin); according to another interpretation it would derive from the Greek word ἄβιος = long-lived.
The specific Korean epithet refers to the growth area of the species.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The Abies koreana is a conifer endemic to South Korea, native to the highest mountains of the peninsula, including the island of Jeju, present in four areas.
Its natural habitat is that of the altitudes between 1,000 and 1,900 meters of the temperate rainforest with annual rainfall of 1600 mm and cool and humid summers and abundant winter snow. It can grow in pure forests or in association with Betula ermanii, Taxus cuspidata, Prunus maximowiczii, Picea jezoensis, Pinus koraiensis, Quercus mongolica, Cornus controversa, Fraxinus sieboldana, Magnolia sieboldii, Sorbus commixta and various kinds of shrubs (Juniperus, Deutzia and Deutzia Rhododrendon).
The Korean Abies is a tree that can reach 9-18 m in height.
The trunk can reach up to 2 m in circumference, with a shrub or pyramidal habit.
The bark is purple in color, smooth when young, resinous, which over the years becomes pale gray and furrowed in plaques.
The secondary branches are gray or yellowish-red, tending to become purple, slightly pubescent.
The leaves are 1-2.5 cm long, needle-like, glossy green on the upper side, bluish-white on the lower side, linear in shape, with stomata arranged on 10 lines. The buds are ovoid, resinous, red-brown.
Male strobiluses are ovoid, reddish-yellow or green with purple reflections, 10 mm long and 7 mm wide.
The female cones are rounded in shape, with a blunt upper part, gray-blue and then dark purple when ripe with resinous spots, 5-7 cm long and 2.5-4 cm broad.
The seed is ovoid, violet-purple hazelnut color, 7 mm long.
The Korean fir is a plant that in addition to growing in its natural habitat is cultivated as a very popular ornamental in parks and gardens in temperate climates. It is cultivated for its foliage but also for the abundant production of cones even on young trees only 1–2 m tall.
Propagation occurs by seed and prefers altitudes between 1000 and 1900, with resistance to cold between -28.8 ° C and -23.3 ° C.
There are some varieties grown for their ornamental value.
Customs and Traditions –
Abies koreana, known in Korean as: 구상 나무, Gusang namu, is a plant that is characterized by its pyramidal bearing, its rough, deeply fissured bark and its cones with dry bracts. It combines most of the characters of the three related species Abies nephrolepis Maxim., A. sachalinensis Mast and A. Veitchii Lindl. The first has similar but less rough bark, longer leaves with median resinous ducts and the bracts of the cone are included; Abies sachalinensis has a cone with similar bracts but of a greenish purple color; the leaves have median resinous ducts and the bark is perfectly smooth with prominent resinous pustules; Abies Veitchii has similar posture and leaves with lateral resinous ducts, but in this species the bark is always smooth and the bracts of the conical scales are shorter or only slightly longer than the scales. This species is certainly very distinct and its very rough bark is unique among the species in its group.
The wood of the Korean Abies is not used both for the rarity of the species and for the very slow growth. However, this fir is probably the most used in gardening, due to its peculiarities that make it appreciated as an ornamental plant: the low height, the shape and the colors of the cones, are appreciated characteristics, together with a wide variety of cultivars available on the market. .
From an ecological point of view, the four subpopulations of Korean Abies are in continuous decline with a high mortality rate; scientific studies have identified the cause in a set of environmental factors attributable to climate changes induced by global warming. In particular, the subpopulation of the island of Jeju presents criticality in the natural regeneration of the species due to the presence of Racodium therryanum, a pathogenic fungus. It is therefore classified as an endangered species on the IUCN Red List.
Preparation Method –
Abies koreana is a plant that has no particular uses, neither medicinal nor food nor, much less, for the use of its wood given the slow growth and rarity of the plant.
It is instead used, with various cultivars, as an ornamental plant.
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
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– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.
Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.