|Abies bracteata subsp. var.||Bristlecone Fir, Santa Lucia Fir|
It is a tree 20-35 m 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 cm long and 2.5-3 mm broad, with two bright white stomatal bands on the underside. The cones are ovoid, 6-9 cm long (to 12 cm including the bracts), and differ from other firs in that the bracts end in very long, spreading, yellow-brown bristles 3-5 cm long; they disintegrate in autumn to release the winged seeds. The male (pollen) cones are 2 cm long, shedding pollen in spring.
A popular ornamental, it can be seen in many arboreta (Gymnosperm Database).
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Lvs. acuminate, dark yellow, green above and silvery below: cones 4 in. long, with long, slender bracts. Calif.
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- Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, L.H. BaileyCH