The Subalpine fir, generally blue-grey in colour, is native to North America. It is closely related to the more eastern Balsam fir (Abies balsamea), but they each have adapted to their individual range, the Subalpine fir to the western mountainous areas of North America.
Being a continental mountain species, Supalpine fir is liable to damage by spring frosts but is otherwise hardy to severe winter conditions. Provenance greatly affects its success in different parts of Finland. At its best, Subalpine fir is an excellent landscape tree, useful also to florists for its foliage, not to mention its use as a Christmas tree. It is, however, rather short-lived for a conifer – at Mustila, for example, all the 80-year-old Subalpine firs suffer from butt rot.
The outward appearance of the species displays great intra-specific variation, generally the more southerly stands have more bright bluish or silvery grey needles. The Arizona provenances have been named corkbark fir (Abies lasiocarpa var. arizonica).