AppearanceThe grand fir was first described by Scottish botanical explorer David Douglas, who in 1831 collected specimens of the tree along the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest.
''Abies grandis'' is a large evergreen coniferous tree growing to 40–70 m tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 2 m. The leaves are needle-like, flattened, 3–6 cm long and 2 mm wide by 0.5 mm thick, glossy dark green above, and with two green-white bands of stomata below, and slightly notched at the tip. The leaf arrangement is spiral on the shoot, but with each leaf variably twisted at the base so they all lie in two more-or-less flat ranks on either side of the shoot. On the lower leaf surface, two green-white bands of stomata are prominent. The base of each leaf is twisted a variable amount so that the leaves are nearly coplanar. Different length leaves, but all lined up in a flat plane, is a useful way to quickly distinguish this species. The cones are 6–12 cm long and 3.5–4.5 cm broad, with about 100-150 scales; the scale bracts are short, and hidden in the closed cone. The winged seeds are released when the cones disintegrate at maturity about 6 months after pollination.
UsesThe inner bark of the grand fir was used by some Plateau Indian tribes for treating colds and fever. The foliage has an attractive citrus-like scent, and is sometimes used for Christmas decorations in the United States, including Christmas trees. It is also planted as an ornamental tree in large parks.
For medicine uses, The Okanagan-Colville tribe used it as a Strengthener's drug for a general feeling of weakness.
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