One of the lesser known stars of the Arboretum, and a real favourite amongst staff is Abies numidica, more commonly known as Algerian fir.

This is a medium or large-sized or evergreen coniferous species of tree that grows to a mature height of 20 – 35 m tall.  This species is native to Algeria where it is endemic to Djebel Babor, the country’s second-highest mountain at 2,004 metres. Abies numidica grows in this high-altitude Mediterranean climate, but is sadly considered critically endangered.

It is one of the reasons that we are so proud of our collection of Algerian fir here at Marks Hall, which are healthy and robust.  This statuesque tree has been flourishing here, and this year we have been especially delighted to be collecting cones.

Growing from seed requires precision and hard work, but worth the time and effort so that we can hopefully raise more of these striking trees from our own stock. Seeds are found inside the cone on the upper surface of the cone scales.  Open cones have already dropped their seeds, so we collect the closed cones only, by picking them from well-formed trees.  Cones will need to be dried, the seeds will be extracted once the scales open and then carefully stored until planting time.