Cilician fir (Abies cilicica) is a tall (maximum 121’), narrow tree, with markedly slender bright green needles that are ¾” to 1 ½” long. Twigs are slightly hairy. Buds are not resinous, or slightly so. Cones are 6-12” long (maximum 12” long), usually cylindrical and reddish-brown. Native to the Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon, Cilician fir was first discovered by botanical explorer T. Kotschy in 1853 and first introduced to cultivated by him in 1854. Cilician fir has been in the United states since before 1870. Resin from this tree was used during Roman times (1st century AD) for mummification, as an antiseptic, a diuretic, a treatment for wrinkles, a worms extract-ant, and a promoter of hair growth.
Common name: Cilician Fir or Taurus Fir or Syrian Fir.
Scientific Name (family and order): Abies cilicica (Antoine & Kotschy) Carr. (Pinaceae, Pinales)
Species Origin: Lebanon, Syria and Turkey
New Jersey Status: USDA not listed
Habit: Columnar spire-like varying little from base to apex in width. From a distance the foliage is more a gray-green than normal dark green of most firs.
Habitat: Zone 5 -6
Trunk/Stem: Bark, gray smooth with prominent lava-like wrinkles
Leaves: Evergreen. Leaves ¾ to 1 1/4 inches long, needles spreading upward and forward; on weaker branches outward and upward forming a V-shaped depression, rounded or acute and slightly 2-notched at apex; bright green above and with narrow whitish bands beneath.
Fruits and seeds: Large upright cones, up to 20 cm long