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Picea engelmannii - Parry. ex Engelm.

Common Name Mountain Spruce, Engelmann spruce
Family Pinaceae
USDA hardiness 3-7
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Montane regions to the tree-line, especially by swamps[60]. Often found on poor thin rocky soils, though the best specimens are growing in deep well-drained clay-loam soils[229].
Range Western N. America - Alberta and British Columbia to Arizona and New Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Full sun
Picea engelmannii Mountain Spruce, Engelmann spruce


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Picea engelmannii Mountain Spruce, Engelmann spruce
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Picea engelmannii is an evergreen Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf all year, and the seeds ripen in September. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Wind.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
It cannot tolerate atmospheric pollution.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Canopy; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Inner bark  Seed
Edible Uses: Tea

Young male catkins - raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring[172]. Immature female cones - cooked. The central portion, when roasted, is sweet and syrupy[172]. The cones are about 5cm long[82]. Inner bark - dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread[172]. An emergency food when all else fails. Seed - raw[172]. The seed is about 2 - 4mm long[229] and is too small and fiddly to be worthwhile unless you are desperate[172]. A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips[172].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Cancer  Pectoral  Salve  Skin  TB

An infusion of the bark has been used in the treatment of respiratory complaints, TB etc[257]. A decoction of the leaves and gum has been used in the treatment of cancer[257]. It was said that if this treatment did not work then nothing would work[257]. The decoction was also used in the treatment of coughs[257]. The ashes of the twigs, mixed with oil, have been used as an ointment or salve on damaged skin[257]. The pitch obtained from the trunk has been used in the treatment of eczema[257].

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Other Uses

Basketry  Charcoal  Fibre  Fuel  Tannin  Wood

The bark is a source of tannin[46, 61, 82]. The branches and the roots have been shredded, pounded and used to make cord and rope[257]. (It is probably the bark that was used[K].) The bark has been used to make baskets and various small utensils[257]. Wood - close-grained, light, soft, not strong. It is used for lumber, construction, fuel and charcoal[46, 61, 82, 171]. It is also valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper[171].

Special Uses

Scented Plants

Cultivation details

Likes abundant moisture at the roots, if grown in drier areas it must be given a deep moist soil[11]. Tolerates poor peaty soils[200]. Succeeds in wet cold and shallow soils but is not very wind-firm in shallow soils[1]. Prefers a pH between 4 to 6[200]. Dislikes shade[200]. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution[11]. Resists wind exposure to some degree[200]. Plants have a shallow root system and are easily wind-blown[155]. Often planted for its timber in N. Europe[50]. Trees are of moderate growth after a slow start, older trees often averaging over 40cm a year[185]. Trees grow better and faster in the north of Britain than in the south. This is not an easy tree to grow in Britain[1], it prefers a continental climate and, although the dormant tree is very cold hardy, the new growth in spring is very susceptible to damage by late frosts in this country[11]. Quite long-lived in its native range, with specimens 500 - 600 years old[229]. Seed production commences around the age of 20 - 25 years, with excellent crops every 2 - 6 years[229]. Closely related to P. glauca, this species also hybridizes with P sitchensis in the south of its range[226]. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly[200]. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus[200]. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance[200]. In some upland areas, especially over granitic or other base-poor soils, growth rate and health have been seriously affected by aluminium poisoning induced by acid rain[200]. The crushed foliage is often said to be foetid but after the first sniff the scent is sweet and like menthol or camphor[185]. Plants are susceptible to damage by the green spruce aphid[1].

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Propagation

Seed - stratification will probably improve germination so sow fresh seed in the autumn in a cold frame if possible[80]. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible in a cold frame[78]. A position in light shade is probably best[78]. Seed should not be allowed to dry out and should be stored in a cool place[80]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. They can be planted out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year, or be placed in an outdoor nursery bed for a year or so to increase in size. They might need protection from spring frosts. Cuttings of semi-ripe terminal shoots, 5 - 8cm long, August in a frame. Protect from frost. Forms roots in the spring[78]. Cuttings of mature terminal shoots, 5 - 10cm long, September/October in a cold frame. Takes 12 months[78]. Cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, early summer in a frame. Slow but sure.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Picea abiesNorway SpruceTree30.0 2-7 FLMHNMWe21 
Picea asperataChinese SpruceTree40.0 - MLMHNDM20 
Picea brachytylaSargent SpruceTree40.0 7-10 FLMHNM20 
Picea brewerianaWeeping Spruce, Brewer spruceTree15.0 5-9 SLMHNM20 
Picea glaucaWhite Spruce, Black Hills Spruce, Canadian SpruceTree15.0 2-6 FLMHNMWe22 
Picea glehniiSakhalin SpruceTree30.0 4-7 FLMHNMWe20 
Picea jezoensisYezo SpruceTree35.0 - MLMHNM21 
Picea marianaBlack Spruce, Swamp SpruceTree20.0 3-5 SLMHNMWe22 
Picea omorikaSerbian SpruceTree25.0 4-7 FLMHNMWe20 
Picea orientalisCaucasian SpruceTree20.0 4-7 FLMHSNM20 
Picea pungensBlue Spruce, Colorado SpruceTree20.0 3-7 MLMHNDM20 
Picea purpureaPurple-Coned SpruceTree45.0 4-7 MLMHNM20 
Picea rubensRed SpruceTree30.0 6-7 FLMHNM21 
Picea sitchensisSitka SpruceTree50.0 6-7 FLMHNMWe22 
Picea smithianaMorinda SpruceTree30.0 6-9 SLMHNM20 

 

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Expert comment

Author

Parry. ex Engelm.

Botanical References

1160200

Links / References

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