The needles on a Noble Fir turn upward, exposing the lower branches. Known for its beauty, the Noble Fir has a long keep ability, and its stiff branches make it a good tree for heavy ornaments, as well as providing excellent greenery for wreaths and garland.
In the wild, the trees are tall, beautifully symmetrical and grow to over 200 feet in height. The bark is smooth with resin blisters when young and changes to brownish-gray plates with age.
The needles are roughly 4-sided (similar to spruce), over 1 inch long, bluish-green but appearing silver because of 2 white rows of stomata on the underside and 1-2 rows on the upper surface. The needles are generally twisted upward so that the lower surface of branches are exposed.
The original Latin name Abies nobilis had to be changed when it was discovered another tree already had been given this name. However, the common name has persisted because of the magnificent proportions of the tree and the large, heavy cones.
Korean Fir is a fir native to the higher mountains of South Korea. It is a small to medium-sized evergreen coniferous tree growing to 10–18 m tall with a trunk diameter of up to 0.7 m, smaller and sometimes shrubby at tree line. The bark is smooth with resin blisters and grey-brown in colour.
The leaves are needle-like, flattened, 1–2 cm long and 2–2.5 mm wide by 0.5 mm thick, glossy dark green above, and with two broad, vividly white bands of stomata below, and slightly notched at the tip. The leaf arrangement is spiral on the shoot, but with each leaf variably twisted at the base so they lie mostly either side of and above the shoot, with fewer below the shoot.
The shoots are green-grey at first, maturing pinkish-grey, with scattered fine pubescence. The cones are 4–7 cm long and 1.5–2 cm broad, dark purple-blue before maturity; the scale bracts are long, green or yellow, and emerge between the scales in the closed cone. The winged seeds are released when the cones disintegrate at maturity about 5–6 months after pollination.
The Nordmann fir is indigenous to the mountains south and east of the Black Sea. The Nordmann Fir is a large evergreen coniferous tree growing to 55–61 m tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 2 m.
The leaves are needle-like, flattened, 1.8–3.5 cm long and 2 mm wide by 0.5 mm thick, glossy dark green above, and with two blue-white bands of stomata below. The tip of the leaf is usually blunt, often slightly notched at the tip, but can be pointed, particularly on strong-growing shoots on young trees.
The cones are 10–20 cm long and 4–5 cm broad, with about 150–200 scales, each scale with an exserted bract and two winged seeds; they disintegrate when mature to release the seeds.