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Abies pinsapo Boiss.

Spanish Fir

Modern name

Abies pinsapo Boiss.

A tree up to 100 ft high; young shoots glabrous, brown; buds reddish, resinous. Leaves densely arranged all round the branchlet (more equally than in any other fir, but still somewhat more densely above), and standing out stiffly from it at right angles; they are 12 to 34 in. long, about 112 in. broad; thick, abruptly pointed or blunt at the apex, dark green with numerous faintly defined lines of stomata on both surfaces. Cones cylindric, with a tapered apex, 4 to 5 in. long, about 112 in. wide, purplish brown; bracts small and completely enclosed.

Native of S.E. Spain, in the mountains about Ronda, always on limestone; discovered in 1837 and introduced to England two years later. It succeeds admirably in this country, whether the soil is calcareous or not. It is, perhaps, the most distinct and unmistakable of firs, especially in the short, blunt leaves being set about equally all round the branchlet. The best specimens lie for the most part outside the cooler and moister areas favoured by the majority of firs, as the following records show: Rhinefield, New Forest, Hants, 102 × 534 ft, forks from the base (1962), and another in Rhinefield Drive, 93 × 614 ft, on a fine single stem (1964); Bodnant, Denbigh, pl. 1876, 96 × 914 ft (1957); Eridge Castle, Kent. pl. 1886, 88 × 614 ft (1963); Poltimore, Devon, 89 × 10 ft (1964); Leonardslee, Sussex, 88 × 412 ft (1958); Longleat, Wilts, 83 × 1014 ft, fine bole (1963); Lydhurst, Sussex, 73 × 12 ft, single-stemmed to the top (1965); Drop-more, Bucks., two of the original introduction, pl. 1843, 84 × 7 and 75 × 7 ft (1964). The rate of growth in younger trees is shown by: Wakehurst Place, Sussex, pl. 1915, 57 × 412 ft (1964).

f. glauca (Carr.) Beissn. – Leaves of a glaucous hue; found wild with the type and common in the stands near Grazalema. It was originally described from a tree growing in a French nursery and the cultivar name ‘Glauca’ would belong only to the descendants of that tree by vegetative propagation.

Abies insignis insignis.

See under A. nordmanniana.

A. × vilmorinii Mast. (A. pinsapo × cephalonica). – This cross was made artificially by Henri de Vilmorin at Verrieères, near Paris, in 1867, but hybrid seed is said to occur quite frequently where the two species grow together. There are examples in the National Pinetum, Bedgebury, Kent; Westonbirt, Glos.; Leonardslee, Sussex; and in the Chandlers Ford nursery of Messrs Hillier. Their heights range from 42 to 55 ft.

For ‘A. pinsapo var. vel hybrida’, illustrated in Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 272, see A. numidica.

A. marocana Trabut – Native of Morocco, where it occupies a small area in the mountains south of Tetuan, at no great distance from the stands of A. pin­sapo on the other side of the straits. It is said to be intermediate in its characters between that species and A. numidica. Probably not in cultivation in this country.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

specimens: The Frythe, Herts, the tree mentioned under this species proves to be A. cephalonica; Wakehurst Place, Sussex, in The Oaks, 69 × 434 ft (1978); Lydhurst, Sussex, 80 × 12 ft (1980); Knepp Castle, Sussex, 87 × 814 ft (1981); Eridge Castle, Kent, pl. 1886, 82 × 614 ft (1971); Rhinefield Drive, New Forest, Hants, 108 × 7 ft (1980); Longleat, Wilts., 82 × 1012 ft (1971); Murthly Castle, Perths., 88 × 8 ft and 95 × 634 ft (1983); Dupplin Castle, Perths., 82 × 934 ft (1983); Rosehaugh, Inv., 75 × 1134 ft, with a 25 ft bole, (1983).

{A. marocana} – This fir is best regarded as a variety of A. pinsapo – var. marocana (Trabut) Caballos & Bolanos. Another variety occurs on Mount Tazaotan, to the south-east of this – var. tazaotana (Cozar) Huguet del Villar, first described as a species in 1946.



Other species in the genus