Spruce: The Christmas Tree
Spruce are the dominant tree throughout much of the northern extensions of the world's temperate regions and are very well represented in our Conifers. Common species, like those often used as Christmas trees, can be found here, as well as unusual cultivars like the weeping white spruce. Also, admire the many spruce trees from far-away countries.
There are more than forty kinds of spruce in the collection, including 19 different species. The spruce genus (Picea) has about 35 species world wide, is most closely related to the pine genus (Pinus), and is well distributed throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere (boreal to subtropical regions). Spruces are the dominant tree throughout much of Scandinavia, Russia, Alaska, and Canada. Some spruce species are important economically for timber, pulpwood, resin, and Christmas tree production. Spruces used for Christmas trees are most typically Norway spruce (Picea abies) or Serbian spruce (P. omorika).
In the spruce section, make a stop at the large Weeping white spruce (Picea glauca 'Pendula'). This is a very unusual, extremely narrow, weeping spruce dating to 1958. We call it the "Dr. Seuss tree" because of its unusual form. Especially eye-catching are the upswept white undersides of the dark green needles on the Serbian spruce (Picea omorika). The Serbian spruce is one of the most beautiful spruces for its up-curving pendulous branches. Oriental spruce (Picea orientalis) is also very graceful. It has short, dark green glossy needles. This is a superb medium-size spruce that makes a great landscape tree. This collection also contains two very important accessions of dragon spruce (Picea asperata). These were originally collected in China by the renowned plant explorers Joseph F. Rock and Ernest H. Wilson.