A tree said to be 70 ft high in the wild state but already taller in cultivation; buds not, or very slightly, resinous; young shoots shining brown, glabrous. Leaves arranged all round the shoot, but with those underneath mostly brought upwards into a horizontal position; on strong shoots the leaves on the upper side are erect or pointed backwards, but on weaker shoots there is a V-shaped opening formed by the separation of the leaves into two sets. Leaves 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, 1⁄12 in. wide; rounded, or notched, or somewhat pointed at the apex; dark glossy green above, often with a grey patch near the apex made up of a few broken lines of stomata; lower surface with a conspicuous grey band of stomata each side of the midrib. Cones 5 to 7 in. long, 11⁄2 to 13⁄4 in. wide, cylindrical, brown.
Native of Mt Babor in Algeria, where it grows in association with Cedrus atlantica; discovered in 1861, and soon afterwards introduced. Vigorous plants are very distinct in the grey patch of stomata on the upper side of the leaf and in the dense array of thick, round-ended, or notched leaves all over the upper side of the shoot, the middle ones of which often point backwards. On weak shoots these characters are not so marked.
It is a handsome fir, and like its allies A. pinsapo and cephalonica grows well in the south and south-east and does not object to lime in the soil. The tallest on record are: Bicton, Devon, 95 × 91⁄4 ft (1959); Westonbirt, Glos., pl. 1910, 83 × 53⁄4 ft; another, pl. 1929, is 42 × 33⁄4 ft (1966); Borde Hill, Sussex, pl. 1907, 80 × 73⁄4 ft (1961); Necton Park, Norfolk, 75 × 7 ft (1952); Eridge Park, Kent, pl. 1892, 68 × 5 ft (1963); Pampisford, Cambs., 67 × 71⁄4 ft (1959).
A. pardei Gaussen – Trees growing in the Arboretum Les Barres, France, originally identified as A. numidica, have been described as A. pardei. Gaussen considered them to be near to A. alba and suggested that they might represent a form of that species found wild in Calabria. Other views are that they are A. pinsapo × numidica, or a form of A. × insignis (q.v. under A. nordmanniana). The origin of the trees is unknown.
A tree at Headfort, Co. Meath, Eire, is illustrated in Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 272, as ‘A. pinsapo var. vel hybrida’. It shows a mixture of the characters of A. pinsapo and A. numidica, recalling the latter in the arrangement of its leaves. It was bought of Veitch in 1912 and is 43 ft high (1966).