Abies koreana 'Horstmann's Silberlocke' / Horstmann's silver curls Korean fir

aka Abies koreana 'Silberlocke' and Abies koreana 'Horstmanns Silberlocke.' Please note the the Royal Horticultural Society lists this conifer as 'Silberlocke.' The Horstmann family has made their wishes to the nursery trade clear that 'Horstmann's Silberlocke' is the correct name that is to be used.

Abies koreana 'Horstmann's Silberlocke' is a beautiful selection of Korean fir. The needles on the branches curl on the tops toward the stem exposing the white underside of the needles, giving the tree a frosted look. Typical rate of growth in most areas is 4 to 6 inches (10 - 15 cm) a year. Over time, 'Horstmann's Silberlocke' will grow into a small tree in the landscape. The curling needle habit seems to lessen with age and if given optimal growing conditions, but will always make a striking impression in the garden.

Günther Horstmann of Schneverdingen, Germany introduced this cultivar to the nursery trade in 1979. It entered the botanical record as 'Horstmann's Silberlocke,' but over time, Horstmann's name had been dropped from some nursery listings creating confusion in the trade. 'Silberlocke' and 'Horstmann's Silberlocke' are synonymous.

In German, "Silberlocke" translates to silver locks of hair and in German grammar, the possessive case does not use the apostrophe at the end of a surname (Horstmanns in German vs Horstmann's in English), hence some of the confusion. Since the cultivar name, 'Horstmann's Silberlocke' has become ubiquitous and generally accepted in the global nursery trade, that's the construct we choose to maintain at the ACS.

Abies koreana 'Horstmann's Silberlocke' — this photo was taken of a specimen at Porterhowse Farms, Sandy, Oregon in October 2001.
Photo by Charlene Harris
Abies koreana 'Horstmann's Silberlocke' — a closeup detailing the frosted effect of the needles.
Photo by Ethan Johnson
Abies koreana 'Horstmann's Silberlocke' — a mature seed cone.
Photo by loneelder.com
'Horstmann's Silberlocke' Korean fir in December, 2011, Maine
Photo by Sean Callahan
Abies koreana 'Horstmann's Silberlocke' — in some years, seed cones will literally cover the tree.
Photo by Ellen Smart
Abies koreana 'Horstmann's Silberlocke' — a closeup of immature seed cones in spring.
Photo by Ellen Smart


Carol Skog

Are a variety birds attracted to Abies koreana 'Horstmann's Silberlocke' for food (cones) shelter and nesting, even though it is not a native fir species to CT? Considering purchasing one to locate between my Acer Palmatum Kihachejo and white Cornus Florida. Thanks, in advance of answer.

Maxwell Cohn

squirrels like the cones. Although I've never seen birds working on them, I see no reason for them not to.

Dick Niemi

My 'Horstmann's Silberlocke' is about 12 feet tall and had been doing very nicely for a decade until midsummer this year, when I noticed one branch that had turned entirely rust-brown. Every other part of the tree appears absolutely healthy. I cut off the dead branch and burned it. I assume something happened to the root that fed that branch. Is there another possible explanation?

A. Rupp

My tree, a favorite, but has had a growth rate greater than a foot a year. I am wondering if it is due to, full afternoon shade. It is very healthy. Pacific NW.