PLANT PROFILE

 

NAME: Balsam Fir

LATIN NAME / FAMILY:  Abies balsamea / Pinaceae

OTHER COMMON NAME(S): 

CONDITIONS: full shade-full sun
 

PARTS:

EDIBLE cid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

TASTE

RAW/COOK

SEASON

All

 

 

 

 

Shoots

 

 

 

 

Leaves

       

Stalk/Stem

 

 

 

 

Buds

       

Flowers

 

 

 

 

Fruits

 

 

 

 

Pods

 

 

   

Seeds

 

 

 

 

Nuts

 

 

 

 

Roots

 

 

 

 

Bark

(inner)

 

RAW/COOK

Winter/earlySpring

 

PORTION: small-medium

 

COMMENT:  Inner bark - cooked. It is usually dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread. Fir bark is a delight to chew in winter or early spring, slightly mucilaginous and sweetish, better raw than cooked. Another report says that it is an emergency food and is only used when all else fails. An aromatic resinous pitch is found in blisters in the bark. When eaten raw it is delicious and chewy. Another report says that the balsam or pitch, in extreme emergency, forms a highly concentrated, though disagreeable, food. An oleoresin from the pitch is used as a flavouring in sweets, baked goods, ice cream and drinks. Tips of young shoots are used as a tea substitute.(1)

 

CAUTION:  The oleoresin (Canada balsam) is reported to produce dermatitis when applied as perfume. The foliage has also induced contact dermatitis.(1)

 

NUTRITION/MEDICINAL:  Analgesic;  Antiscorbutic;  Antiseptic;  Diuretic;  Poultice;  Stimulant;  Tonic;  VD.(2)

 

LOOK-A-LIKES:  

 

POISONOUS LOOK-A-LIKES:  Yew bush/tree, all parts toxic except flesh of fruit, seed highly toxic - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxus_baccata

 

OTHER USES: Adhesive;  Fibre;  Gum;  Kindling;  Microscope;  Repellent;  Resin;  Stuffing;  Waterproofing;  Wood.

 

SOURCE LINKS (may include nutritional and medicinal info, plus other uses):

  1. https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Abies+balsamea
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abies_balsamea
http://www.pioneerbushcraft.org/nature-articles/bushcraft-articles/3-uses-of-balsam-fir-resin (good photos)