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Abies bracteata
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Santa Lucia Fir
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Abies bracteata

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About Santa Lucia Fir (Abies bracteata) The Bristlecone Fir or Santa Lucia Fir (Abies bracteata) is a rare fir, confined to slopes and the bottoms of rocky canyons in the Santa Lucia Mountains on the central coast of California, USA. It is a tree 20-35 meter tall, with a slender, spire-like form. The bark is reddish-brown with wrinkles, lines and resin vesicles ('blisters'). The branches are downswept. The needle-like leaves are arranged spirally on the shoot, but twisted at the base to spread either side of the shoot in two moderately forward-pointing ranks with a 'v' gap above the shoot; hard and stiff with a sharply pointed tip, 3.5-6 centimeter long and 2.5-3 millimeter broad, with two bright white stomatal bands on the underside. The cones are ovoid, 6-9 centimeter long (to 12 centimeter including the bracts), and differ from other firs in that the bracts end in very long, spreading, yellow-brown bristles 3-5 centimeter long; they disintegrate in autumn to release the winged seeds. The male (pollen) cones are 2 centimeter long, shedding pollen in spring.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
65.6 - 180 ft (20 - 54.9 m)



Native Status
Natural Setting
Site Type
Steep, rocky slopes

Part Shade

Elevation ?
264' - 5059'

Annual Precip. ?
11.8" - 50.9"

Summer Precip. ?
0.22" - 1.10"

Coldest Month ?
37.2° F - 49.8° F

Hottest Month ?
63.1° F - 76.4° F

Humidity ?
0.60 vpd - 24.28 vpd

Sunset Zones ?
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7*, 8, 9, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22, 23, 24

Landscaping Information
Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: 2-3 mos. stratification. Abies seed storage life is less than one year unless kept refrigerated.

Common uses
Deer Resistant

Nursery Availability
Never or Almost Never Available

Other Names
Common Names
Bristlecone Fir

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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