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Natural Variation in Abies of the Southern Appalachians

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Foliage, seed, and cone characteristics of Abies fraseri at high elevations of Tennessee, North Carolina, and southern Virginia, Abies balsamea var. phanerolepis in West Virginia and northern Virginia, and Abies balsamea from Pennsylvania and southern New York were studied. Much variation was found among the three varieties and among stands within varieties. Stand values for many characteristics overlapped, in many cases obscuring taxonomic boundaries. High correlation with north-south geographic location was shown for many characteristics. For 12 of the 13 characteristics analyzed, variation was no greater within stands of the intermediate fir (A. balsamea var. phanerolepis) than within Fraser fir stands, and distribution of hybrid index values of the intermediate fir was normal. The hypothesis of hybrid origin of intermediate fir in West Virginia and Virginia was not generally upheld.
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Keywords: Abies balsamea; Abies balsamea var. phanerolepis; Abies fraseri; clinal variation; hybrid index

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor, Forestry Department, University of Tennessee

Publication date: 01 September 1969

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