Nature Notes

Vol. VI December, 19228 Winter Season No. 9

Abies nobilis

sketch of Noble Fir cone

The Noble Fir

This tree is quite abundant in Mt. Rainier National Park and, although it never achieves dominant position in the forest cover, is easily recognized from its associates. In one stands on one side of the Nisqually River and looks across at the Ramparts he will see these trees with their deep blue-green foliage which is quite distinct from the lighter green of the Hemlocks, Douglas Fir and other trees with which it is associated. It is a typical tree of the Northwest for it thrives in the dense forests of the Cascades in Washington and Oregon. Well might this locality be proud of this fir for, unlike other true firs (Abies) which are generally inferior trees, the Noble Fir is really deserving of the name, Noble. Tall, straight, with clear trunk and handsome blue-green foliage is is truly a noble tree.

Perhaps the most unique feature is the type of cone that graces the topmost branches. All true firs bear their cones in that part of the tree but the cone of the Noble Fir is quite distinct from any of them - in fact it cannot be confused with the cone of any of our forest trees. It reaches a large size, often seven inches long and over two inches in diameter and from between the scales protrude three pointed bracts that bend over and lay along the cone so that it has the appearance of being "shingled" like a roof. They are prized by the Douglas Squirrel who gathers them in large quantities in the early fall and thus aids in the dessimmination of the tree.


Our New Museum

With the occupation of the New Administration Building the old office structure will be turned over to the Naturalist for development as a Park Museum. It will be another link in the educational department of the National Park Service at Mt. Rainier National Park and facilitates a more complete array of exhibits that was heretophore hampered by lack of space. Work of developing the museum is already under way and will be carried on throughout the winter.

<<< Previous
> Cover <