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Introduction of Vietnam conifers: Phan si pang spruce

Last modified on 17/6/2009 at 10:48:00 AM. Total 2644 views.

This tree has previously been known as Abies delavayi var. nukiangensis in major references such as Vietnam Red Data Book (Anon., 1996) and the Flore du Cambodge, du Laos et du Viet Nam (Nguyen Tien Hiep & Vidal, 1996). It was redescribed as a new species (Xiang Qiao-ping, 1997) on the basis of cone characters and then reduced to a subspecies by Rushforth (1999).

Data base

Common name: Van sam phan si pang
English name: Phan si pang spruce
Scientific name: Abies delavayi Franch. subsp. fansipanensis (Q.P. Xiang) Rushforth
Family: Pinaceae

Conservation status

Global status LEAST CONCERN

Existing national status RARE

Proposed national assessment VULNERABLE D1

Globally the threat status of this subspecies has not been evaluated. Based on the new IUCN (2001) criteria, the national assessment for this subspecies should be changed to Vulnerable, due to its small population size, limited distribution and vulnerability to forest fires. In Vietnam it is listed in Group I (i.e. strict no use by law) of the List of Rare and Precious Species.


An upright tree, 15-20 m tall with a dbh to 1m that grows on the high slopes and ridges of Mt Fan Si Pan from 2600 – 3000 m amsl in primary closed evergreen tropical seasonal mixed subalpine forest. Mean annual temperatures 8.8-10.80 C at an elevation of 2170 m amsl and annual rainfall of 2,500 mm - 3,500 mm are extrapolated from data gathered at Hoang Lien Son station (Nguyen Khanh Van et al., 2000). This subspecies can be found partly in bamboo-dominated vegetation and is locally dominant on granite derived soils where it is associated with Tsuga dumosa. Seed is shed annually but seedlings are not shade tolerant and it requires some disturbance for establishment.

Abies delavayi Franch. subsp. Fansipanensis (Q.P. Xiang) Rushforth

1. Cone-bearing branchlet and seed cone. 2. Young branchlet. 3. Leaf, abaxial view. 4. Seed, adaxial view. 5. Seed, abaxial view. 6. Bract and seed scale, baxial view. 7. Seed scale, adaxial view. Drawn from Nguyen Van Dien 7095 by Pham Van Quang).


This subspecies is endemic to Mt Fan Si Pan in Lao Cai Province. Abies delavayi is widespread in southwestern China and extends into the Himalayan areas of Myanmar and north-eastern India.


Due to the small size of the population that is situated far from villages, it is not used economically in Vietnam. In China Abies delavayi timber is used for construction and tannin is extracted from the bark.


The entire known population is situated on the tallest mountain in Vietnam and within the Hoang Lien National Park. Plans to build a ‘road’ to the summit of Mt Fan Si Pan could present a threat to this species. Other threats include fire and the lack of natural regeneration. Cutting of trees on the mountain, both for trekking tourists and for possible local use threaten this tree. However, remoteness at present causes difficult access of at least the highest occurring trees. The same species (different subspecies) is fairly heavily exploited in similar mountains in Yunnan, China. Risks may increase in the near future unless specific protection in the form of a logging ban and some form of enforcement are implemented.

Protected Area status

The only known population lies within Hoang Lien National Park.

Current conservation measures

No ex situ conservation programmes involve this taxon.

Recommended conservation action

Since the threats for the species are real e.g. growth in tourism on Mt. Fan Si Pan and may increase in the future, regular monitoring of the threats is essential for conservation. This should enable preventative measures to be taken as those threats become evident.

Surce: Nguyen Tien Hiep, Phan Ke Loc, Nguyen Duc To Luu, Philip Ian Thomas, Aljos Farjon, Leonid Averyanov and Jacinto Regalado Jr. "Vietnam Conifers, Conservation satus review 2004"


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