Abies beshanzuensis, first decribed by M. H. Wu in 1976, is commonly known as 百山祖冷杉 (bai shan zu leng shan) in the Chinese language and as Baishan fir. There are two recognized varieties.
- A. beshanzuensis var. beshanzuensis, the typical variety which is described here.
- A. beshanzuensis var. ziyuanensis (L. K. Fu & S. L. Mo) 1980. Please refer to this link for description and pictures.
Description. Baishan fir is a species of evergreen coniferous tree growing to 50 feet (15 m) tall, with a broad conic crown and a trunk up to 2 feet (0.8 m) in diameter. The shoots are stout, pale yellow-brown, hairless or slightly hairy. The leaves are linear, 0.5 to 1.5 inches (1.5 – 4 cm) long and 0.1 to 0.14 inch (2.5 – 3.5) mm wide, glossy green above, and with two white stomatal bands below. The seed cones are narrow cylindric-conic, bright green when immature, ripening pale yellow-brown, 2.5 to 5 inches (6 – 12 cm) long and 1 to 1.5 inches (3 – 4 cm) wide, with exserted and reflexed bracts.
It is closely related to Abies firma from southern Japan, placed with it as the only two members of Abies subsection Firmae. The species Abies ziyuanensis is included in Abies beshanzuensis as a variety by some botanists, though others place this species in a different subsection of the genus, Abies subsection Holophyllae.
Distribution. This species is native to Baishanzu Shan in southern Zhejiang province in eastern China, growing at 6,070 feet (1,850m) elevation and is threatened by collection and climate change. The site is within the Fengyangshan – Baishanzu National Nature Reserve. Abies beshanzuensis is classified as critically endangered by the IUCN Red List. It was discovered in 1963 on the summit of Baishanzu Shan (5,942 feet / 1,857 m), where only seven trees were found. Three of these were dug up and moved to Beijing Botanical Garden, where they died. By 1987, only three trees were left in the wild, making it the rarest conifer in the world. New planting of grafted plants on Baishanzu Shan and other nearby sites has shown some success, but the species remains critically endangered.
Attributed from: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia