All About the Genus Picea

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum, October 21, 2019 - November 3, 2019
Joanna Long
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum: The Genus Picea
(October 21, 2019 – November 3, 2019)

1)   Picea orientalis                            Oriental Spruce

  • This popular ornamental spruce can grow up to 150 feet and is native to the Caucasus Mountains and northern Asia Minor.
  • This species is prized for its gracefully pendulous foliage and for the young cones which are deep purple.
  • A grove of these trees can be found on the northeast side of the Pinetum.

2)   Picea morrisonicola                          Taiwan Spruce

  • Endemic to the mountains of Taiwan, this spruce has slender, delicate shoots.
  • In its native range, this tree grows at high altitude from 6,600 feet to 8,200 feet above sea level.
  • The specimen in the Pinetum near the Newton Street entrance was grown from a wild-collected seed and has been part of the collection since 1958.

3)   Picea engelmannii                           Engelmann Spruce

  • Native to western North America from British Columbia to New Mexico, this species is often grown for its blue-green needles.
  • Wood from young trees is used to make musical instruments including guitars, violins, and harps.
  • A group of these trees can be found in the Cascadia Forest at the south end of the Arboretum.

4)   Picea breweriana                           Brewer Spruce

  • The long pendulous branches of this spruce efficiently shed snow in its native range in the mountains of southwest Oregon and northwest California.
  • There are about 35 species of Picea, and they are only found in the northern hemisphere.
  • A small specimen is located in the Cascadia Entry Garden.

5)   Picea abies  ‘Pendula’                           Norway Spruce

  • This common European species is popular in cultivation with over 350 forms described. There are 15 forms in the Arboretum, many of them dwarf cultivars.
  • Scientists in Sweden have found a P. abies that is 9,550 years old – one of the world’s oldest trees. This tree, named Old Tjikko, has regenerated new trunks through clonal layering of branches. While each trunk lives only a few hundred years, low branches root into the ground and produce new trunks.
  • A large P. abies ’Pendula’ can be found at the south end of the Sorbus Collection.