THE KOREAN FIR, Abies koreana, wins my award for best “pine” cones ever, with 3-inch purple cones produced even on quite-young plants. If only this fantastic conifer displayed its cones at Christmastime here, instead of in June, though I’m not sure that purple actually matches anybody’s holiday palette, does it?
The Korean fir in the photo was my Charlie Brown-style Christmas tree perhaps a half-dozen years ago, a scrawny potted baby I festooned with a few shiny things and positioned in the cool back mudroom. (By late summer, its cones turn tan-colored, so it didn’t decorate itself the way it had in summer. And you can only loosely call them pine cones: A. koreana is in the Pinaceae or Pine Family, but not a true pine.) After the holiday I heeled it in for the rest of winter, moving it to a permanent spot in spring.
This beautiful smallish tree, to perhaps 15 or 20 feet tall (30 tops, I’ve read), has just one drawback: It can’t take the heat. For my location, that’s just fine; its ideal setting is zone 5 or 6, just like here. Various references say it is hard from Zone 5 to 7, or some claim as cold as 4 and warm as 8.