The name derives from the Latin abire «to leave, to leave», ie to rise from the ground, with reference to the great height that can be reached by some species. They are all evergreen trees, of considerable size, and have the characteristic of having erect thrills. As ornamental species, they are usually planted individually, but they are widely used, at least in the case of white fir, in reforestation. In the common language, the genus Abete is confused with the genus Picea, and the species belonging to the two groups are usually referred to as Spruce.
Spruce alba (sin pectinata) or silver fir, is the most important spruce in Italy, where it is fairly common in the Alps, mostly mixed with beech, often also with spruce. It is also present in the Apennines, where it once was much more common. Today, in its natural state, it is only found in some limited areas, very distant from each other, as on Mount Amiata, in Molise, on the Massif del Pollino, in Lucania, where the establishment of a National Park is planned, also to protect this important species, and to Serra S. Bruno, in Calabria. It lives in the mountains in cool areas and particularly in the beech environment. Another Italian A., very similar to the previous one, is the Abete nebrodensis which, as the name clearly indicates, is a Sicilian species, where it lives precisely in the Nebrodi Mountains. Still widespread and constituting dense forests at the time of the ancient Romans, as a result of climatic variations, but above all grazing, fires and reckless cuts, it has almost disappeared. Among the species cultivated foreign to the Italian indigenous flora, the only one that has a certain practical importance is the A. cephalonica, originally from Greece. Of smaller dimensions of the. white, it grows well on calcareous soils, where instead the other species grows stubbornly. It also adapts better to warmer areas and is less demanding in terms of humidity.
All members of the genus Abete prefer fresh, fertile, forest soils and do not tolerate clay soils. The best medium for the propagation of these species is the seed. It will be good to collect the strobili in the late autumn, which will then be kept in a well-ventilated environment. At the beginning of spring, the cones break down, after which the seeds are extracted and sown as soon as possible in the seedbed. It will be good, then, to transplant the seedlings, as soon as they are sufficiently developed, in their final location. Even when they are bought, the seeds are put into seedbeds as soon as possible. In general, pruning is not necessary for cultivated plants, which is sometimes desirable in forest plants.