Conifer experts - tree identification

Hi all,

I’m new here, quick intro. My name is Axel, live in San Francisco, I like trees, always fascinated by bonsai, finally picking it up seriously.

I recently went hiking in Yosemite NP and found all those awesome little tortured trees, hanging branches, asymmetrical silhouette, lots of trunk movement, some even with natural jin. All around 3 to 4 ft tall. Just so you know, I would never pull one out without permission. The hike was between 7000 and 8000 ft elevation.

The trees are needle trees, white bark, short needles maybe up to 1”. Pictures below. I wasn’t quite sure what tree species this is, maybe you can help. Thanks in advance!

I recently watched Ryan’s video “Succulent Repotting” and noticed I’m not the only one who has an interest in this type of tree.

Thanks everyone!



Looks like a fir to me. Based on range I’d guess abies concolor (White fir).

The one in the succulent vid might not be exactly the same, but a subalpine fir instead.


Looks like a white fir


It’s a Abies lasiocarpa Subalpine Fir.
Are you thinking about collecting these? Just letting you know that collecting trees from a National Park is prohibited.
Our National Forest allow transplants with a permit and each district differs for allowable species, quantities, times of collection, and other regulations.
Be sure to check the USFS website for your area info. :evergreen_tree::metal:t2::grinning:


Hi all,

Thanks for your replies!

I’m not planning to pull any of these out of the ground, as I said in my original post :slight_smile:

I’d definitely join one of those organized yamadori hikes where the organizer has a permit for everyone to remove trees. I did some reading about this and it seems difficult even for experienced collectors to collect a tree and have it survive.


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Yosemite has two kinds of fir: Abies concolor and A. magnifica, Red Fir. Red lives higher, colder, in places with deep snowpack. At the elevation you mentioned it could be either one. Red Fir needles will roll between your fingers, but White Fir will not because they are flatter and wider. There are a lot of other differences but that is the easiest one to describe in written words.

I think you are looking at White Fir. It can handle life in most places. I think Red Fir is limited to cold climates.

Edit: I absolutely think Red Fir is one of the most magnificent trees found in nature. Red Fir, Sugar Pine, and Giant Sequoia get me excited every time I see them.