Balsam fir

Jump to navigation Jump to search
Balsam Fir


An evergreen coniferous tree, Abies balsamea, native to the northeastern United States and Canada. The fragrant, light yellowish brown balsam fir timber has a coarse but even grain. The wood is brittle and not very durable. It is used for packing boxes and paper pulp. Balsam fir produce a viscous oleoresin called Canada balsam.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Abies balsamea; bálsamo de abeto (Esp.); fir balsam; pine fir; balm of Gilead fir "

Balsam fir (Abies balsamea)

Physical and Chemical Properties

Paper fiber type: Softwood. Using transmitted light microscopy, fibers are identified by large taxodiod ray parenchyma pits. Pits are frequently 2-3 across in horizontal rows. Appearance with Graff "C" stain: varies with pulping and bleaching. Average dimensions of fibers: length 3.5mm; width 30-40μm. Common pulping method: sulfite or kraft.

Additional Images

Resources and Citations

  • Alden Identification Services, Microscopic Wood Identification: Link
  • H. A. Alden, A.C. Wiedenhoeft, "Qualified Determination of Provenance of Wood of the Firs (Abies spp. Mill) Using Microscopic Features of Rays: An Aid to Conservators, Curators and Art Historians" AIC Poster, reprinted online at
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 83
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Kurt Wehlte, The Materials and Techniques of Painting, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1975
  • Marja-Sisko Ilvessalo-Pfäffli. Fiber Atlas: Identification of Papermaking Fibers (Springer Series in Wood Science). Springer, 1995.
  • Walter Rantanen. "Fiber ID Course." Integrated Paper Services. June 2013. Lecture.

Retrieved from ""