Picea pungens Engelm.

Blue Spruce

A conical tree to 20-30 m tall, the branches and branchlets drooping only at the base of tall trees. Bark grey-brown, furrowed, becoming scaly. Buds 5-7 mm long, ovoid to conic with reflexed scales at the tip, not resinous. Young shoots thick, becoming orange-brown, hairless. Leaves spread around the shoot but more above than below, rigid, incurved and prickly, 1.5-2.5 cm long, varying in colour on different trees from dull green to silvery-white with pale bands on all four surfaces. Cones cylindrical, slightly narrowed at each end 5-9 cm long, 2.5-3 cm wide, reddish before ripening, pale brown when mature; scales wrinkled, papery, longer than wide, narrowing to the toothed tips. Seeds 2-3 mm long, half the length of the wing.

SW America on mountains and on ledges at alt. 2000-3000 m and sometimes on the banks of rivers and streams.

Branches and branchlets not pendulous; buds with upper scales that generally curl backwards, not resinous; hairless more or less glossy shoots; prickly leaves with pale bands on all surfaces and spread around the stem though more sparse below.

NSW: Mt Tomah (Bot. Gds); Sydney (Royal Bot. Gds).


f. glauca (Regel) Beissn. ('Glauca') Blue coloration of leaves is variable both in the wild or from trees grown in cultivation from seed.

SA: Glenalta (Rosella Ave). NSW: Albury (Bot. Gds ptd 1977 to commemorate the centenary of the gardens); Armidale (University of New England, lawn); Batlow (Pilot Hill Arboretum); Leura ('Everglades'); Mt Wilson ('Cherry Cottage'). ACT: Yarralumla (nursery & SW corner of Weston Park ptd c. 1940). VIC: Buchan (Caves Park); Hawthorn (Scotch College, commemorative tree); Melbourne (Royal Bot. Gds); Silvan (dam c. 25 m tall).

Source: Spencer, R. (1995). Pinaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 1, Ferns, conifers & their allies. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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Distribution map

Picea pungens 'Blue Trinket'

Compact, conical. Raised from seed and introduced by l. Konijn & Co. Nsy, Pinetum Tempelhof, Reewijk, Netherlands in 1960s.

Picea pungens 'Compacta'

Densely branched flat-topped shrub. Raised from seed at the Arnold Arboretum in 1974.

Picea pungens 'Endtz'

Dense, slow-growing, conical with horizontal branches turned up at the tips; leaves bluish. Introduced l.j. Endtz, Nurseryman, Boskoop, Netherlands c. 1925.

Picea pungens 'Glauca Prostrata'

Prostrate, blue leaves, sometimes growing upwards. A confused name referring to a range of blue-leaved variants.

Picea pungens 'Hoopsii'

Upright, dense, needles strongly condensed and clear blue-white. Originated Hoops' Nsy, Germany in 1950s.

Picea pungens 'Hunnewelliana'

Dwarf, becoming conical, branches dense, erect. Leaves thin, pungent pointed and pale green. Raised Framingham Nsy, Massachusetts, usa from seed collected in Colorado in 1920s.

Picea pungens 'Iseli Fastigiata'

Columnar, propagated by grafting. Iseli Nsy, Boring, USA, 1963.

Picea pungens 'Koster'

Koster Blue Spruce Blue and symmetrical; common in gardens; leaves 2-2.5 cm long. Distributed before 1885 by nurseryman a. Koster of Boskoop, Netherlands as a set of mixed grafts from a population grown from seed. A uniform selection of these was then made and referred to as 'Glauca Compacta' rather than the current and correct name.

Picea pungens 'Mission Blue'

Quick-growing with blue foliage. Mission Gardens, Techny, Illinois, USA c. 1979.

Picea pungens 'Moerheim'

Narrow, conical, dense, branches short, whorled; shoots yellowish brown; buds yellowish; leaves 2.5-3 cm long. Introduced by Royal Moerheim Nsy, Dedemsvaart, Netherlands.

Picea pungens 'Montgomery'

Dwarf, slow-growing, compact, broadly conical, buds yellowish, needles pale blue, prickly. Original plant, as a seedling, possibly obtained by Col. R.h. Montgomery at Cascob, Conn., usa. The Pinetum of Colonel Montgomery is now in the New York Bot. Gard., Bronx Park.

Picea pungens 'Saint Mary'

S Broom' Conical tree with whitish-blue, long, thick leaves. Found by Thomsen in private garden Lancaster Pa., USA & intd by Thomsen Nss, Mansfield, Pennsylvania., USA c. 1928.

Picea pungens 'Thomsen'

Symmetrical, upright, colour extremely pale blue, leaves thick. Found by nurseryman Thomsen in private garden in Lancaster, Pennsylvania., usa and introduced to Thomsen Nsy, Mansfield, Pennsylvania c. 1928.

Picea pungens 'Walnut Glen'

New growth cream; burns in full sun. Origin presumed a witch's broom, source unknown.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Pinopsida
order     Pinales
family      Pinaceae
genus       Picea A.Dietr.