Nordmann fir (Abies nordmanniana) is a medium to large evergreen tree . Needles are dark green with two white bands on the underside of the needle. Bark is hard and gray, remaining smooth a long period. Cones are reddish-brown with reflexed bracts. Native to the Caucasus area east of the Black See, Nordmann fir was discovered by Finnish botanist and professor at Odessa, Davidovic von Nordmann (1803-1866), in the Adzhar Province of the Caucasus in 1836 or 1837. It was introduced to cultivated in 1840 by Lawson’s nursery of Edinburgh, Scotland and brought to North America prior to 1860. The 1862 catalog of Parsons nursery of Long Island lists Nordmann fir in 1862. Today, Nordmann fir is one of the most common and successful foreign firs grown in the United States and Canada. Slow growing; popular Christmas tree because the leaves shed slowly after the tree is cut (a so-called “non-drop” tree). Nordmann firs have been in the park for at least 100 years.
Common name: Nordmann Fir, Crimean Fir, Caucasian Fir
Species Origin: Caucasus, N.E. Turkey region; introduced into Canada 1848, now widespread.
New Jersey Status: USDA not listed
Habit: Medium to tall tree, up to 130 feet; 15 feet wide; uniform conical shape.
Habitat: Zones 4 – 6; mountain forests
Trunk/Stem: Bark grey, smooth, cracking into small, square plates.
Leaves: Evergreen, flat, one inch, under-leaf with two white bands of stomata; when crushed yields a resinous aroma. Leaf tip round to flat; Leaves more dense on the upper sides of the branch
Flowers: Monoecious. Male reddish beneath the shoot; female green upright in separate clusters on the same plant.
Fruits and seeds: Cones upright, 5 ½ inches; Female cones carried above the shoot, is green and turns red-brown as it matures; it has papery bracts which project, as a short point, beyond the scales and are reflexed. Male cones cluster below the shoot; they are red tinged but open yellow.