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The fir

The fir: botanical details

The scientific name of the fir is abies, from the Latin habeo which means “I have”. In allusion to the particular height of many species of fir. The fir originates from the mountain ranges of central and southern Europe, North Asia, Japan and North America. The fir is a majestic conifer. The fir trees live in pure formations, in the so-called fir forests. In nature you can also find fir trees that live in mating with oaks and beeches. The leaves of the fir are persistent and flattened are called: “needles”. The color of the leaves varies from light green to dark green. Not infrequently the lower part can be light in color, even silver or white. These leaves are rich in resinous glands, with an intense aroma. The fruits of fir have the classic pine cone structure, formed by flakes, containing seeds. The fir is a typical conifer of our landscape and in some areas it characterizes it in an unmistakable way. In the garden, this genus finds hospitality only in some particular species, with limited development, with colored leaves, such as silver fir or spruce.

The fir: cultivation


The fir requires, in principle, a permeable and well fertilized soil, where water stagnation does not occur. The climate must be as cool as possible, without very high daytime temperature variations compared to nighttime ones. In any case, the exposure must be in the shade or with very little solar incidence. The fir should never be planted in closed situations, where the air cannot circulate freely. In addition to enjoying shade and freshness, the fir must never feel thirsty, especially in the initial phase of growth. To ensure that the tree can absorb water quickly and easily, it is advisable to move the ground a little on the surface, at the base of the specimen, creating a circular hollow-shaped dimple. Every month it is advisable to mix a right dose of liquid fertilizer to the water. In this way the fir will continuously produce new vegetation. photo source: www.asklepios.it

The fir: the different uses


The most logical and traditional use of a large fir, of whatever species it is, is as an isolated specimen, in large gardens or parks. Even when you have a lot of space, it is wrong to plant fir trees at a close distance because you get tall and straight stems but on the other hand their foliage, at the point of contact, deteriorates or does not expand in the usual way, typical of the different species. Without wanting to exaggerate, but to stay in a medium size, there must be an interval of six meters between one fir and another. It is obvious that the distance decreases when it comes to dwarf species. Fir is also known for its therapeutic properties contained in the resin that was once sold as “Strasbourg turpentine” and that mixed with wax was used to practice anti-rheumatic massages or for poultices that healed sprains and bruises. Resin and fir shoots are also used to prepare infusions with a resolving action in case of bronchitis, or to practice fumigations against colds.

The fir: curiosity


The most Italian of the firs is the abies alba, also known as the silver fir. The silver fir reaches a height of up to 15 meters and has needle-like leaves 2-3 centimeters long, arranged in a comb and inserted on the branch with a spiral movement. The silver fir has an always upright posture, which makes it distinguish it from the red fir which shows, instead, pendulous cones. Conifers, and therefore also firs, especially if forced to live in an unsuitable climate and perhaps in unsuitable soil, they prove to be quite vulnerable to cryptogamic infections and attacks by parasites or harmful insects. Fir trees acquire particular grace in spring when they are covered with young shoots. Roman writers and botanists, starting with Pliny the Elder, describe the large coniferous forests existing on our territory. Many archaeological finds validate the ancient use of fir for shipbuilding. In the language of dreams, the fir represents a positive sign. If the dream is made by a young bride, it is not unlikely that there is a happy event in sight.

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