Abies alba 'Pyramidalis' / pyramidal European silver fir

Abies alba 'Pyramidalis' is a narrowly conical, fastigiate selection of European silver fir with dense, erect branches, and short, glossy, dark-green needles with silvery undersides. It's overall structure is tightly pyramidal when young, but over time, an older plant will take on more of a narrow, conical shape. After 10 years in the landscape a mature specimen will measure 10 to 13 feet (3 - 4 m) tall and 3 to 5 feet (1 m) wide, a rate of growth of nearly 1 foot (30 cm) per year.

This is a very old cultivar, most likely originating in Germany in the early 1800s before making its way to the United Kingdom around 1950, then to the United States around 1970. It is virtually guaranteed to be found in any large, important conifer collection anywhere.

Attribution from: Aris Auders and Derek Spicer; RHS Encyclopedia of Conifers; ©2012 Kingsblue Press

Abies alba 'Pyramidalis' — very old specimens growing in Secrest Arboretum, Wooster Ohio. One of my personal favorites.
Photo by Bill Barger
Abies alba 'Pyramidalis' — a young specimen with good form.
Photo by Bill Barger
Abies alba 'Pyramidalis' — a closeup of fresh shoots and seed cones.
Photo by Bill Barger
Abies alba 'Pyramidalis' — a 2002 accession at the New York Botanical Garden, The Bronx, New York (USDA Hardiness Zone 7a); photo from 2020.
Photo by Katherine Wagner-Reiss
Abies alba 'Pyramidalis' in a private garden in Moline, Illinois. This plant was 7 years old when the photo was taken in spring 2003.
Photo by Chub Harper



can this particular abies tolerate a north side/shady side of our house--in z.5/6?
is a thuja yellow ribbon a good choice for the same place? thx so much

[Deleted User]

Hi Mindy, if grown in shade, it will survive, but not thrive. It would become lanky, open, and sparse. Regarding 'Yellow Ribbon' ... it wouldn't be yellow unless it's in the sun.

Laura Jull

Has anyone tried/grown Abies alba cultivars in zone 4? Due to its native range in Europe, there is variability in cold hardiness of the cultivars ranging from zone 4-6. I am wondering which ones are tried and true to zone 4b. Thanks