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Home > Science & Nature > Nature > Plants > Pine and Fir Compared

Difference Between Pine and Fir

Pine vs Fir

Whether you have one in your backyard or you stroll past a few during your morning walk, conifers are special types of trees that resemble the famous Christmas tree and belong to the plant family known as Pinophyta. These are gymnosperms, and are not referred as evergreen trees as they are not fruit bearing but cone bearing trees. Two varieties of such cone bearing trees are pine and fir. Those who are not familiar with plants get confused between pine and fir as they cannot differentiate between them. This article attempts to highlight their features so as to enable readers to call pine or fir correctly.

Only flowering plants bear fruits, and both pine and fir trees are cone bearing trees. This means that both bear cones (though different), which confuses many. There are many species belonging to this family (conifers) of plants. Such plants are of great economic value for their timber, which is used to make furniture items, also paper.

Coming to differences between pines and firs, needles in pines are in groups of 2-6, while firs have single needles. The single needle of fir feels flat in your hands and does not roll easily. Their botanical classifications are different, despite both being conifers bearing cones. While pine trees are placed in genus Pinus, firs belong to genus Abies. There are about 50 fir species that are native to countries having cold weather. These trees are also found in subtropics. On the other hand, there are over a hundred pine species.

Needles are the major point of differentiation between fir and pine trees. The needles of a fir tree are soft and flat on two sides. The needles of pine trees are also soft, but also glossy and thin like a thread. The needles of fir trees are shorter in length, often less than 2 inches long. On the other hand, needles of pine trees can be short to very long (1-12 inches).

Though both fir and pine trees are tall, firs are wider at the base and pointed as they grow upwards. On the other hand, pines have a rounder appearance than fir trees. The bark of pine trees is not so smooth and often cracked. The bark of a pine tree is also darker than a fir tree. Coming to cones, while the cones of firs are bluish green in appearance, those of pine trees are brown and black in color.

What is the difference between Pine and Fir?

· Though both firs and pines are conifers, there are differences between the two varieties of conifers that are easy to detect.

· The one major difference between firs and pines pertains to needles in their cones. While needles are in groups of 2-6 in case of pines, needles are single in case of firs.

· Cones of firs are bluish green, while those of pine are brown and black.

· Fir trees are pointed as they grow upwards. On the other hand, pines have a rounder appearance.


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