THE NOBLE FIR.
The noble fir is a common mountain free in the western parts of Washington and Oregon. Like silver fir, it is usually called larch by lumbermen. About Mount Rainier it grows at elevations of from 3,500 to 5,000 feet in dense stands associated with silver fir, western hemlock, and Douglas fir. The noble fir avoids steep side hills and exposed situations. In moist soils on flats and gentle slopes it often reaches a height of from 150 to 200 feet. The tall and upright trunk supports a rounded crown of bluish green foliage, which is very noticeable among the purer green leaves of its associates. The branches are short, thick, and crowned with stiff, flattened leaves, which turn upward and outward. The light-green bract-covered cones are sometimes 6 inches long and nearly 3 inches thick. They ripen early in September. Seed is borne every year, although in some seasons it is much more abundant than in others.
The wood is strong, close grained, and elastic. It is used for lumber and particularly for inside finishing. The noble fir is a slow-growing and long-lived tree. Old trees in mixed forests are really distinguished from the associated species by the ashy-brown outer bark broken into large irregular plates.
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