Distribution countries: USA (North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia). Grows on the highest slopes and peaks of the Appalachian Mountains, between 1200 m and 2038 m above sea level, usually grow best on the northern slopes. Soils are usually podzolic and moderately acidic. The climate is humid, with cool summers and cold winters with heavy snowfalls, annual rainfall ranges from 850 mm and 2000 mm. The population grows scattered, sometimes in pure populations at the highest points, but more often in a mixture with Picea rubens and Betula papyrifera above 1500 m Today, the biggest destroyer is the insect Adelges piceae, discovered in 1957 on this fir. This alien pest quickly spread to all subpopulations, causing massive extinction. Millions of trees have died since the 1980s, and only one significant population (Mount Rogers, Virginia) remains virtually unchanged.
Tree up to 25 m tall and 75 cm in diameter at chest level, with an open, symmetrical, pyramidal to spire-shaped crown. The bark is gray, thin, smooth, later gray. The branches diverge from the trunk at right angles. The buds are bare, light brown, conical, small, resinous, the apex is sharp. Leaves 1.2–2.5 cm × 1.5–2 mm, flexible; the cross section is flat; the upper surface is dark shiny green, sometimes slightly bluish, the apex from slightly toothed to rounded.
Pollen cones when pollinated red-yellow or yellow-green. Seed cones are cylindrical, 3.5–6 × 2.5–4 cm in size, dark purple before ripening with false yellowish-green bracts, after ripening from dark brown to black. Seeds 4–5 × 2–3 mm in size, body brown; wings of the same length, purple. The wood is pale brown with white sapwood. 2n = 24The rest of the fir population has very limited commercial value, like wood. This species is used for Christmas trees. It has a natural "Christmas" shape and retains its fragrant, dark green leaves well indoors. It is also widely used as an ornamental tree for gardens