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Grand Fir

Grand Fir

The sun goes down the early afternoon,
And soon will set.
A rim of steaming haze
Above the horizon, deeper in its dye
Than the light orange of the general west,
Receives his reddened orb.
As through their glades
Westward you go, a sifted dust of gold
Fills all the fir-wood tops; ruddy below
Their rough-barked stems; and aye the wings of birds
Twink with illumination, as they flit
From tree to tree across your startled eye.
-Thomas Aird, 1802-1876: A Winter Day

Description of Abies grandis
Leaf: About 3/4 to 2 inches long, linear, and flat; dark yellow green above with 2 white bands below; apex rounded or notched; spirally arranged but flattened into 2 ranks especially lower in the crown; vary in length with lengths alternating on the twig; grow parallel to one another but perpendicular to the twig.
Flower: Monoecious; male cones yellowish and borne beneath the leaves; female cones yellowish green to green and borne upright near the top of the crown.
Fruit: Cones are 2 to 4 inches long, barrel-shaped, and borne upright on the twig; cone scales are deciduous, falling from the cone as seeds ripen; green to purplish green when mature.
Twig: Stiff, olive to reddish brown, and covered with round, flat leaf scars when needles fall. Buds are large, rounded, and covered with pitch; terminal buds usually occur in clusters of three or more.
Bark: When young grayish green and covered with resin blisters. With age becoming 2 to 3 inches thick, grayish-brown and mottled, often furrowed with flattened ridges; inner bark is purple-red. Form: A large evergreen, commonly 150 to 200 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet in diameter. It develops a long narrow crown of dense foliage, often rounded or flat-topped at maturity.
http://www.fw.vt.edu/dendro/dendrology/syllabus/Agrandis.htm

Etymology of Fir
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English fyrh; akin to Old High German forha fir, Latin quercus oak Date: before 12th century
http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=fir

Images:
http://www.nearctica.com/trees/conifer/abies/Agrand.htm
great images
http://www.cfr.washington.edu/Classes.esc.200/abies_grandis.htm
good images of all parts of tree, takes some time to load

Ethnobotany (Information is provided for cultural interest, not as a recommendation for treatment of disease)
The inner bark is edible when cooked. It is usually dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread. It is best used in the spring when it is rich and juicy. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails. The gum from the trunk is hardened and used as a chewing gum. It can also be made into a drink. Young shoot tips are used as a tea substitute.
A gum that exudes from the bark is used externally as an ointment.
Northwest tribes have made good use of Grand Fir foliage and branches. Kwakwaka'wakw elders wove its branches into headdresses and costumes and used the branches for scrubbing individuals in purification rites. The Hesquiat tribes used its branches as incense and decorative clothing for wolf dancers.It was occasionally used as a fuel. Some interior tribes such as the Okanogan, also made canoes from its bark. Pitch was applied to bows for a secure grip and rubbed on paddles and scorched for a good finish. A brown dye from its bark was used in making baskets by the Straits Salish tribe, along with a pink dye made by mixing the brown dye with red ochre. Knots were shaped, steamed and carved into halibut hooks by several coastal tribes. Grand Fir bark, sometimes mixed with stinging nettles, was boiled and the concoction used for bathing and as a general tonic. The Lushoot tribe boiled needles to make a medicinal tea for colds. The Ditidaht sometimes brought boughs inside as a air freshener and burned them as an incense and to make a purifying smoke to ward off illnesses. They also crushed and mixed the bark of Grand Fir, Red Alder and Western Hemlock and made an infusion that was rank for internal injuries. The Hesquiat mixed the pitch of young trees with oil and rubbed it on the scalp as a deodorant and to prevent balding.

Other Uses: The aromatic leaves are used as a moth repellent. The boughs have been used in the home as an incense. A pink dye can be obtained from the bark. The dried and hardened pitch can be chewed as a tooth cleanser. A powder made from the dried and crushed leaves was used as a baby powder by North American Indians. The bark can be used as a waterproof covering material for buildings and canoes. Wood - light, soft, coarse grained, not strong, not very durable. Used for interior work.Of little value as a lumber, it is used mainly for pulp and fuel. http://www.geocities.com/littleflowers_medicinal_plants/grand_fir.html
http://www.umd.umich.edu/cgi-bin/herb
Superb Native Indian Ethnobotanical Database. Type in Abies grandis in the field and it will bring up specific tribal uses of this wonderous plant
http://dent.edmonds.wednet.edu/imd/nativeamerican.html
a really wonderful resource for folks interested in Native Indian Culture in all its dimensions

Essential oil of Abies Grandis/Grand Fir-EcoCert Organic-distilled in France
Physical description: mobile, clear to light yellow oil
Olfactory description: Fresh, delicate, sweet green resinous topnote with a soft fruity pinaceous base. The delightful topnote remains present deep into the dryout. This has many shared qualities with a well distilled Abies alba while presenting its own distinctive bouquet. Both are quiet, refined, delicate oils which are a joy to explore at all stages from top to base note
Phytochemicals of EcoCert Organic Giant Fir/Abies grandis Essential Oil (I have included the odor description of each isolate so that one can see how many beautiful interactions there are in each essential oil)
a-pinene 7.10%
Odor Description : Fresh Sweet Pine Earthy Woody
camphene 13.36%
Odor Description : Fresh Herbal Woody Camphor Mint
b-pinene 25.72%
Odor Description : Sweet Fresh Pine Woody Hay Green
myrcene 0.96%
Odor Description : Fresh Peppery Terpy Spicy Balsam Plastic
limonene 5.27%
Odor Description : Lemon Citrus Citral Fresh Sweet
1,8 cineole 11.12%
Odor Description : Eucalyptus Mint Herbal Rosemary
bornyl acetate 16.44%
Odor Description : Pine Woody Fresh Pine Needles
citronellol 3.26%
Odor Description : Sweet Rose Leather Musty Floral

If you wish to explore the odor characteristics of each phytochemical please visit the splendid Good Scents Company database.
http://www.execpc.com/~goodscnt/
scroll down the information index on the left hand side of the page until you come to the Perfume Raw Materials Section.
There you will be able to locate many phytochemicals and their odiferous qualities