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Fraser fir (Abies fraseri) is a species of fir native to the mountains of the eastern United States. It is closely related to balsam fir (Abies balsamea), of which it has occasionally been treated as a subspecies (as A. balsamea subsp. fraseri (Pursh) E.Murray) or a variety (as A. balsamea var. fraseri (Pursh) Spach).
The species is named after the Scottish botanist John Fraser (1750-1811), who made numerous botanical collections in the region. It is sometimes misspelled as "Frazer" or "Frazier".
In the past, it was also sometimes known as "she-balsam" because resin could be "milked" from its bark blisters, in contrast to the "he balsam" (red spruce) which could not be milked. It has also occasionally been called balsam fir, inviting confusion with A.
Fraser fir (Abies fraseri), also called southern balsam fir and she-balsam, is a small- to medium-size tree. It is the only fir endemic to the southern Appalachian Mountains. The largest tree on record measures almost 86 cm (34 in) in d.b.h., 26.5 m (87 ft) tall, and has a crown spread of 15.8 m (52 ft). Because of the high elevation at which Fraser fir grows, its primary value is for watershed protection and scenic attraction.
Leaf: Flattened needles, 3/4 inch long, blunt or notched at the end, shiny dark green above and silvery below. Needles generally more dense than on the very similar balsam fir.
Flower: Species is monoecious; males yellow to purple; females in upper crown, inconspicuous, purple.
Fruit: Resinous cones are upright, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long, cylindrical, green to purple, with pointed, toothed bracts protruding from the cone scales; scales are deciduous with seed dispersal in fall.
Twig: Yellow-green, later turning gray; buds round, reddish brown, resinous; leaf scars are flat and rounded.
Bark: Silvery gray-brown, smooth except for resin blisters, largest stems may become a bit scaly.
Form: Fraser fir is a small to medium size tree to 80 feet, with a very narrow, spire-like crown.
SESSION LAW 2005-387
HOUSE BILL 1316
AN ACT adopting the fraser fir as the official christmas tree of the state of north carolina and the southern appalachian brook trout as the official freshwater trout of north carolina.
Whereas, North Carolina has 1,500 Christmas tree growers and produces more trees than any other state except Oregon; and
Whereas, North Carolina tree growers produce over 50 million Fraser firs each year; and
Whereas, the Fraser fir constitutes more than 90% of all the Christmas trees grown in North Carolina; and
Whereas, the Fraser fir is named for John Fraser, a Scottish botanist who explored the Southern Appalachian mountains of North Carolina in the late 1700s; and
Whereas, the Fraser fir is a pyramid-shaped tree that reaches a maximum height of 80 feet and a trunk diameter of one to one and one-half feet; and
Whereas, the Fraser fir grows naturally only in the Southern Appalachians; and
Whereas, Fraser fir trees grown in North Carolina have won the National Christmas Tree Association's annual tree competition more than any other species; and
Whereas, North Carolina contains innumerable mountain streams and coldwater fisheries habitats; and
Whereas, these mountain streams are home to brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), which is North Carolina's only native freshwater trout species; and
Whereas, the Southern Appalachian form of brook trout is a scientifically-recognized unique and genetically distinct form locally known as "specks" or "speckle" trout because of the numerous specks on its skin; and
Whereas, North Carolina is home to some 400 self-sustaining populations of Southern Appalachian brook trout, more than in any other state; and
Whereas, these wild and colorful fish are important keystones of ecological diversity, indicators of outstanding water quality, and representatives of the pure and unspoiled areas that they inhabit; and
Whereas, Southern Appalachian brook trout are cooperative sport fish, and may be caught by anglers using traditional fly-fishing equipment and locally-adapted fly patterns, thereby supporting extensive recreational fishing opportunities, economic development, and tourism; and
Whereas, by their character and contribution, these unique fish are woven into the historical and cultural fabric of Western North Carolina; and
Whereas, the Fraser fir deserves recognition as the official Christmas tree of the State of North Carolina and the Southern Appalachian brook trout deserves recognition as the official freshwater trout of the State of North Carolina; Now, therefore,
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. Chapter 145 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:
"§ 145-25. State Christmas tree.
The Fraser fir (Abies fraseri) is adopted as the official Christmas tree of the State of North Carolina."
SECTION 2. Chapter 145 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:
"§ 145-26. State freshwater trout.
The Southern Appalachian strain of brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) is adopted as the official freshwater trout of the State of North Carolina."
SECTION 3. This act is effective when it becomes law.
In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 23rd day of August, 2005.
s/ Beverly E. Perdue
President of the Senate
s/ James B. Black
Speaker of the House of Representatives
s/ Michael F. Easley
Approved 3:25 p.m. this 13th day of September, 2005
The law designating the Fraser fir as the official North Carolina state Christmas tree is found in the North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 145 Section 145-25.
State Symbols and Other Official Adoptions.
§ 145-25. State Christmas tree.
The Fraser fir (Abies fraseri) is adopted as the official Christmas tree of the State of North Carolina. (2005-387, s. 1.)
Taxonomic Hierarchy: Fraser Fir
Kingdom Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division Coniferophyta - Conifers
Family Pinaceae - Pine family
Genus Abies Mill. - fir
Species Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir. - Fraser fir