Abies (Pinaceae)

Abies concolor
Trees of the Pacific Northwest

Abies fossil
Fossil, oblique view
UofAz Palynology

Abies concolor
Abies concolor C.Drew
UofAz Palynology

Trees generally with conical crowns and smooth resinous bark when young. Needles flat with blunt or notched tips, two bands of stomata beneath, and broad sucker-like attachments to the twigs. Female cones held upright on the branches, resinous, falling apart when mature. Widespread in the Northern Hemisphere, temperate to subalpine.

Pollen light micrograph:
Abies Fir (Abies) pollen like pine (Pinus), and spruce (Picea) is a bisaccate (or vesiculate) pollen grain consisting of a body with two latarally-placed bladders (sacca, vesicles). Fir pollen is distinguished from pine by its larger size (> 80 µm), and from spruce by the angular transition between bladder and body. Also, fir differes from spruce because the wall opposite the bladders is very thick and uneven. Some fir species have bumps on the membrane between the bladders, similar to those of Haploxylon pines.

Pollen scanning electron micrograph (SEM)
Thick ridges on the body visible.

Production and Dispersal:
Fir pollen is abundantly produced, but poorly distributed. High percentages are only found where the plants are nearby.

Well Preserved.

Fossil Occurrence:

    Bagnall, C. R., Jr. 1974.
    Pollen morphology of Abies, Picea, and Pinus species of the U.S. Pacific Northwest using scanning electron microscopy. Ph. D. dissertation, Washington State Univ.

    Bagnall, C. R., Jr. 1975.
    Species identification among pollen grains of Abies, Picea, and Pinus in the Rocky Mountain area (A scanning electoron microscope study). Rev. Palaeobotany Palynology 19: 203-220.

    Weir, G.H. and Thurston, E.L. 1975.
    Scanning electron microscopic identificaiton of fossil pinaceae pollen to species by surface morphology. Palynology 1: 157-165.

Owen K. Davis 01/00