Abies fraseri 'Rawl's Dwarf' / Rawl's Dwarf Fraser fir

Abies fraseri 'Rawl's Dwarf' is a broadly conical, upright dwarf selection of Fraser fir with shiny, dark-green needles. Young plants will be quite amorphous in structure until eventually developing apical dominance and start growing upward becoming lush, squat and cone-shaped. Typical rate of growth in most areas is 1 to 2 inches (2.5 - 5 cm) per year, resulting in a small tree, less then 2 feet (60 cm) tall after 10 years in the landscape.

There is quite a bit of confusion regarding the correct name and history of this cultivar. One can find the original plant at Bill Walter Conifer Collection at the Dubuque Arboretum, Iowa, USA. In a recent conversation with the curator of the collection, he stated that the original plant came into the collection with the name, 'Rawl's Dwarf.' The original plant is now 20 years old (as of 2014) and measures 3 feet (90 cm) tall and wide. Beyond that, no other history is available at this time.

Synonyms such as 'Rawles', 'Rawles W.B.', 'Rawls' and several other permutations exist in the nursery trade. 'Raul's Dwarf' is the name registered with the Royal Horticultural Society, but this is also incorrect.

Abies fraseri 'Rawl's Dwarf' — a mature specimen in the Edwin Smits Pinetum, Volkel, The Netherlands.
Photo by Edwin Smits
Abies fraseri 'Rawl's Dwarf' — an attractive mature specimen in a private garden in Ohio.
Photo by David Olszyk
Abies fraseri 'Rawl's Dwarf' — a closeup of foliage detail.
Photo by David Olszyk
Abies fraseri 'Rawl's Dwarf' — an attractive, symmetrical young plant at the ACS Reference Garden, Oregon Garden, USA.
Photo by David Olszyk
Abies fraseri 'Rawl's Dwarf' -- a nicely formed young plant at Hobbiton Gardens, Port Orchard, WA.
Photo by Will Fletcher