The Abies Fraseri
is commonly known as Balsam
, Balsam Fraser Fir
, Eastern Fir
, Fraser Fir
, Fraser's Fir
, Southern Balsam Fir
, as well as Southern Fir< Go Back
Fraser fir is restricted to disjunct populations at higher elevations in
the southern Appalachian Mountains of southwestern Virginia, western
North Carolina, and eastern Tennessee [2
The accepted scientific name for Fraser fir is Abies fraseri (Pursh.)
Poiret. It is a member of the family Pinaceae and is very closely
related to balsam fir (A. balsamea) [16
]. Fir trees in Virginia and
West Virginia are intermediate between balsam fir and Fraser fir; the
putative hybrid is recognized as Abies x phanerolepis (Fern.) Liu
(synonymous with Abies intermedia Full.) [18
At the highest elevations Fraser fir forms nearly pure stands; American
mountain ash (Sorbus americana) is usually its only canopy associate.
At mid- and lower elevations Fraser fir occurs with eastern hemlock
(Tsuga canadensis), yellow buckeye (Aesculus octandra), and sugar maple
(Acer saccharum). Mountain maple (A. spicatum), striped maple (A.
pensylvanicum), and serviceberry (Amelanchier spp) are common understory
associates. Shrub associates include hobblebush (Viburnum alnifolium),
witherod (V. cassinoides), redberry elder (Sambucus pubens), southern
mountain cranberry (Vaccinium erythrocarpum), catawba rhodendron
(Rhodendron catawbiense), and smooth blackberry (Rubus canadensis)
[2,21]. In red spruce-Fraser fir forests, Fraser fir typically makes up
10 to 70 percent of the relative basal area and from 20 to 90 percent of
the relative density .
Publications that name Fraser fir as a dominant or codominant species in
forest classifications include the following:
Ground vegetation patterns of the spruce-fir area of the Great Smoky
Mountains National Park 
Vegetation of the Great Smoky Mountains 
< Go Back
Much of the information presented here is attributed to:
Sullivan, Janet. 1993. Abies fraseri. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online].
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,
Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available at USDA Forest Service.