Today’s taxon was originally going to be posted as Abies densa (the name on the label), but after reviewing the identification via Conifers Around the World, I’m nearly certain this is instead Abies delavayi.
The curatorial team for the David C. Lam Asian Garden now has to review my identification and determine whether I’m incorrect, whether the original identification was incorrect, or whether there was a label mix-up. The latter is the most likely scenario, as the Abies densa in this (much too large) garden bed grew from seed collected in Bhutan. Abies delavayi does not occur in Bhutan–its range is (via Conifers Around the World)
restricted to subalpine-alpine western Yunnan, eastern Tibet/Xizang, and Burma/Myanmar (3000-4300m) [~10000-14000 ft.]
Other accounts also include India and Vietnam in the range, but only on single mountain tops in each of these countries (and also suggest it can be found at slightly lower elevations).: Abies delavayi.
If not a label mix-up, then perhaps my identification is incorrect (with the possibility that it is neither Abies delavayi nor Abies densa). However, it seems to match Abies delavayi‘s distinguishing features nicely, at least in comparison to Abies densa: glabrous reddish-brown branchlets (these are greyish-yellow in Abies densa), revolute needle margins (vs. less recurved margins in Abies densa), and cones with broadly-winged, spathulate, exserted bracts that are recurved at the tip (compared to tapering bract tips in A. densa). It was fortuitous I managed to photograph all of these identifying features in one single image.
Assuming it is Abies delavayi, it is an IUCN Red List species of Least Concern. Economic uses include timber for construction, furniture, and wood pulp.
Lastly, a reminder that I am away for the next few weeks. I’ll try to post/schedule short entries every second weekday while I’m gone, but I don’t think I have the time for more than that.