Natural variation Abies of the southern Appalachians.
Foliage, seed and cone characteristics of (a) Abies fraseri from high attitudes in Tennessee, N. Carolina and southern Virginia, (b) A. balsamea var. phanerolepis from W. Virginia and northern Virginia, and (c) A. balsamea from Pennsylvania and southern New York were studied. Much variation was found among the three taxa and among stands within taxa. Many characteristics showed overlapping stand values that frequently obscured taxonomic boundaries, and a high degree of correlation with latitude. For 12 of the 13 characteristics analysed, variation was no greater within stands of (b) (the intermediate type of Fir) than within those of (a), and the distribution of hybrid index values of (b) (determined by techniques similar to those of Clausen-cf. F.A. 24 No. 3266) was normal. It is concluded that (b) is unlikely to be of hybrid origin. KEYWORDS: Abies balsamea var. phanerolepis \ Abies balsamea variation \ Abies fraseri \ Genetics variation geographical