=Habitat and Range.=--Cold soils, borders of swamps, deep woods,
ravines, mountain slopes.
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, through Quebec and Ontario.
Maine,--abundant, generally distributed in the southern and central
portions, becoming rare northward, disappearing entirely in most of
Aroostook county and the northern Penobscot region; New
Hampshire,--abundant, from the sea to a height of 2000 feet in the White
mountains, disappearing in upper Coos county; Vermont,--common,
especially in the mountain forests; Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and
South to Delaware and along the mountains to Georgia and Alabama,
ascending to an altitude of 2000 feet in the Adirondacks; west to
Michigan and Minnesota.
=Habit.=--A large handsome tree, 50-80 feet high; trunk 2-4 feet in
diameter, straight, tapering very slowly; branches going out at right
angles, not disposed in whorls, slender, brittle yet elastic, the lowest
declined or drooping; head spreading, somewhat irregular, widest at the
base; spray airy, graceful, plume-like, set in horizontal planes;
foliage dense, extremely delicate, dark lustrous green above and silver
green below, tipped in spring with light yellow green.
=Bark.=--Bark of trunk reddish-brown, interior often cinnamon red,
shallow-furrowed in old trees; young trunks and branches of large trees
gray brown, smooth; season's shoots very slender, buff or light
reddish-brown, minutely pubescent.
=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Winter buds minute, red brown. Leaves
spirally arranged but brought by the twisting of the leafstalk into two
horizontal rows on opposite sides of the twig, about 1/2 an inch long,
yellow green when young, becoming at maturity dark shining green on the
upper surface, white-banded along the midrib beneath, flat, linear,
smooth, occasionally minutely toothed, especially in the upper half;
apex obtuse; base obtuse; leafstalk slender, short but distinct,
resting on a slightly projecting leaf-cushion.
=Inflorescence.=--Sterile flowers from the axils of the preceding year's
leaves, consisting of globose clusters of stamens with spurred anthers:
fertile catkins at ends of preceding year's branchlets, scales crimson.
=Fruit.=--Cones, on stout footstalks at ends of branchlets, pointing
downward, ripening the first year, light brown, about 3/4 of an inch
long, ovate-elliptical, pointed; scales rounded at the edge, entire or
=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy throughout New England; grows almost
anywhere, but prefers a good, light, loamy or gravelly soil on moist
slopes; a very effective tree single or in groups, useful in shady
places, and a favorite hedge plant; not affected by rust or insect
enemies; in open ground retains its lower branches for many years. About
twenty horticultural forms, with variations in foliage, of columnar,
densely globular, or weeping habit, are offered for sale in nurseries.
1. Branch with flower-buds.
2. Branch with sterile flowers.
3. Sterile flowers.
4. Spurred anther.
5. Branch with fertile flowers.
6. Ovuliferous scale with ovule, inner side.
7. Fruiting branch.
8. Cover-scales with seeds.
10. Cross-section of leaf.
=Abies balsamea, Mill.=
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