An Eco-sustainable World
ArborealSpecies Plant

Abies veitchii

Abies veitchii

The Veitch’s fir (Abies veitchii Lindl.) is an arboreal species belonging to the Pinaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota Domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Pinophyta Division,
Pinopsida class,
Order Pinales,
Pinaceae family,
Genus Abies,
A. veitchii species.
The terms are synonymous:
– Picea veitchii (Lindl.) Gordon;
– Pinus selenolepis Parl.;
– Pinus veitchii (Lindl.) W.R.McNab.
Within this species, the following varieties are recognized:
– Abies veitchii var. veitchii. Endemic to Honshū; Densely pubescent. Leaves 1,5-3 cm long; bluish white stomatal bands.
– Abies veitchii var. sikokiana (Nakai) Kusaka. Endemic to Shikoku; NT. Slightly pubescent. Leaves 1–2 cm long; white stomatal bands. In many respects intermediate between var. veitchii and Abies koreana, has been treated by some authors as a distinct species Abies sikokiana.

Etymology –
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 epithet Veitchii was assigned in honor of John Gould Veitch who found the species on Fuji in 1861.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Abies veitchii is a conifer endemic to the islands of Honshū and Shikoku in Japan.
Its habitat is that of altitudes between 1200 and 2800 m, on soils normally of volcanic origin, podzolici and well drained; the reference climate is cool and humid with annual rainfall between 1000 and 2500 mm, and cold and snowy winters. Frequent typhoons cause extensive destruction to forests, limiting their age to 250-300 years. It frequently forms mixed forests with other conifers (Abies mariesii, Picea jezoensis hondoensis, Larix kaempferi, Thuja standishii, Pinus parviflora, Pinus pumila and Tsuga diversifolia) and some deciduous trees such as Betula ermanii, Sorbus commixta, Prunus species of the genus Betorylifolia and Acerula corylifolia .

Description –
Abies veitchii is a small-medium sized evergreen conifer; this plant grows up to 40 – 60 meters in height. The trunk is rounded, up to 2 meters in diameter and has a crown that takes on a pyramidal or conical shape. The branches are short and slender, branch out horizontally and have an ascending posture at the tip. The shoots, which are initially green or light brown, turn yellowish-gray in the second year; they have a smooth surface which becomes slightly furrowed later, with yellowish pubescence.
The bark is greenish-gray when young and smooth, with prominent resinous pockets; in the lower part of the stem it peels off into flakes over the years.
The leaves are needles 1,5-3 cm long, 1,5-2,2 mm broad, with linear or falcate lamina, arranged in a spiral and radially diffused with the upper ones more or less comb-like and the lower ones directed forward; the tip of the needle is marginalized or truncated. Their color is dark green above, with two whitish bands of stomata below. The buds are rounded and ovoid, resinous.
Male strobili are 10-15 mm long, axillary and hanging, yellowish with red microsporophylls.
The cones are erect, of a shape that varies between ellipsoidal and cylindrical, 4.5-7.5 cm long and 2-2.5 cm broad, of a dark bluish-violet color before maturity, then brown-blackish; they have a blunt or papillary tip. The scales are reniform or almost arrowheaded, with a smooth surface, slightly pubescent in the exposed parts. The bracts are obcordate, 1-1.2 cm long, straight or curved. The winged seeds, of a black-greyish color with green reflections, 5-6 mm long, are wedged.

Cultivation –
Abies veitchii Abies veitchii is a rapidly growing evergreen conifer that is grown outside its range also for Christmas tree or as an ornamental plant.
It is a plant that needs high rainfall and cold winters.
From a pedological point of view, it prefers moist, well-drained soils of volcanic origin with a pH tending to acid.
It is very shade tolerant when young, but it is not long-lived.
Propagation occurs by seed.
The young seedlings must be transplanted when they have not reached a size greater than 60 cm.

Customs and Traditions –
Abies veitchii (シ ラ ビ ソ or シ ラ ベ shirabiso or shirabe) is a fir native to Japan, present in the islands of Honshū and Shikoku where it grows in moist soils in the cool mountain forests.
This plant is used for its timber and as an ornamental and as a Christmas tree.
The wood is of low quality, and is mainly used in the paper industry. It is quite common as an ornamental tree in gardens, parks and botanical gardens; especially in England it had a good popularity at the end of the nineteenth century, when the first seeds were imported from Japan, popularity later supplanted by other botanical species.
This conifer, although its range is progressively restricted to higher and less urbanized altitudes, manages to regenerate in such a way that it is not considered endangered; it is therefore classified as a species at least risk of extinction (Least Concern) in the IUCN Red List.

Preparation Method –
Abies veitchii is a plant whose food or medicinal uses are not known.
It is used for its timber or as an ornamental plant and occasionally grown for Christmas trees.
The wood is strong and elastic and is used in construction, boxes, tools and spindles.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– 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.
Photo source:

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.

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