are a genus of between 45-55 species of evergreen conifers in the family
Pinaceae. All are trees, reaching heights of 10-80 m tall and trunk diameters
of 0.5-4 m when mature. Firs can be distinguished from other members of
the pine family by the fact that their needle-like leaves are attached
to the twig by a base that resembles a small suction cup, and by erect,
cylindrical cones 5-25 cm long that disintegrate at maturity to release
the winged seeds. Identification of the species is based on the size and
arrangement of the leaves, and the size and shape of the cones, and whether
the bract scales of the cones are long and exserted, or short and hidden
inside the cone. They are most closely related to the cedars (Cedrus).
Firs are found through much of North and Central America, Europe, Asia,
and North Africa, occurring in mountains over most of the range.