(8) SILVER FIR
The SILVER FIR (Abies pectinata, D.C.) the largest of the European conifers, in various soils and distuations produces a great bulk of timber in a comparatively short period; the timber is considered less strong and durable than that of the spruce fir or the Scotch pine, but it does not warp, and is adapted for all kinds of carpentry. The timber is white, and when not exposed makes excellent flooring. The tree is of slow growth for the first ten or twelve years; nevertheless, even in the north of Scotland it attains the height of 100 feet in sixty or seventy years. It ripens seeds in Britain, but more sparingly than the spruce fir, and plants are easily raised. It is in general healthy, but its cultivation is more difficult than that of the spruce, as the shoots of young trees are liable to be killed by frost. This species is also very subject to the attacks of an insect, Eriosoma, which often causes the death of the tree. The silver fir is a native of Central Germany, and of the mountains of Italy and Spain. Nearly allied is the Abies balsamea, balm of Gilead fir, a native of North America, which produces the Canada balsam, but it cannot be recommended for cultivation, as it is short lived.
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