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picea pungens - Engelm.

Common Name Blue Spruce, Colorado Spruce
Family Pinaceae
USDA hardiness 3-7
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Banks of streams or on first benches above them, singly or in small groves, 2000 - 3300 metres[82].
Range South-western N. America - Rocky Mountains.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
picea pungens Blue Spruce, Colorado Spruce


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picea pungens Blue Spruce, Colorado Spruce
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Summary

Bloom Color: Green, Orange, Purple. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Columnar, Pyramidal.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
picea pungens is an evergreen Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3. It is in leaf all year, and the seeds ripen from September to October. 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 dry or moist 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;

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 7cm 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, it is only used when all else fails. Seed - raw[172]. The seed is about 2 - 4mm long[229]. It is rich in fats and has a pleasant slightly resinous flavour but is too small and fiddly to be worthwhile unless you are desperate[172, K]. A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips[172].

References

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.


None known

References

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An important new book from PFAF. It focuses on the attributes of plants suitable for food forests, what each can contribute to a food forest ecosystem, including carbon sequestration, and the kinds of foods they yield. The book suggests that community and small-scale food forests can provide a real alternative to intensive industrialised agriculture, and help to combat the many inter-related environmental crises that threaten the very future of life on Earth.

Read More

FOOD FOREST PLANTS

Other Uses

Shelterbelt  Wood

A fairly wind resistant tree, it can be grown as part of a shelterbelt planting[200]. Wood - light, soft, close grained, weak, brittle and often full of knots[82, 171, 229]. The wood has little commercial value[226], but is used for construction[82] and is also valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper[171].

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Christmas tree, Firewood, Screen, Specimen. 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]. Prefers a cold dry high mountain site[200]. Succeeds in wet cold and shallow soils but is not very wind-firm in shallow soils[1]. Resists wind exposure to some degree[200]. This species has a deeply penetrating root system that firmly anchors the tree against winds[229]. Prefers a pH between 4 to 6[200]. Dislikes shade[200]. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution[11]. A long-lived but slow-growing tree in the wild, with specimens 800 years old recorded[229]. It is planted as a timber tree in N. and C. Europe[50]. Most trees in Britain are grafted and these are slow growing[185]. The few trees of seedling origin tend to be fairly fast growing after a slow start[185]. Annual increases of 30 - 40cm are not uncommon in some of the larger trees. 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]. Seed production is usually good, with heavy crops every 2 - 3 years[229]. 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]. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly[200]. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus[200]. There are several named forms, selected for their ornamental value[188]. Trees are very subject to severe damage by aphids in mild winter areas where temperatures do not regularly fall below -8°c[200]. All parts of the plant emit a powerful pungent smell when bruised[245]. Special Features:Attracts birds, Attractive foliage, North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

References

Temperature Converter

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Fahrenheit:

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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
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Picea orientalisCaucasian SpruceTree20.0 4-7 FLMHSNM20 
Picea pungensBlue Spruce, Colorado SpruceTree20.0 3-7 MLMHNDM20 
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Picea rubensRed SpruceTree30.0 6-7 FLMHNM21 
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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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Engelm.

Botanical References

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Readers comment

David Beaulieu   Fri Jan 13 2006

Colorado Blue Spruce Trees Landscaping uses for Colorado blue spruce trees.

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