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Picea pungens

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
PY-see-uh PUN-jenz
Description

Medium to large, narrow, pyramidal conifer with horizontal branching to the ground. It is an evergreen gymnosperm tree that grows 30-60' and has a dense crown and is conic to columnar-conic.  It is native to the central Rocky Mountains from southern Montana and eastern Idaho south to New Mexico.  It does best in cooler climates, cannot tolerate heat and humidity.

It can be grown in average, well-drained soils in full sun, although it will tolerate some shade. This plant prefers rich, moist soil in full sunlight. Young plants should be kept consistently moist and not allowed to dry out. As the plant matures, it becomes more drought tolerant. This plant has a slow to medium growth rate. It is more drought tolerant than other spruces. It is often utilized as a Christmas tree for its bluish color and stiff leaves for ornaments, but being replaced by fraser fir due to dangerous pungeant leaf tips that caused injury to toddlers. It is often planted outside afterwards as a specimen plant. 

This plant has no serious pest issues but can be affected by aphids, scale, budworms, and bagworms. New growth and overall health of this tree can be affected by spider mites.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Gymnosperm with bluish saber-like leaves
  • Leaves are stiff, rigid, and spine-tipped

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Baby Blue Eyes'
    Semi-dwarf, blue-gray needles
  • 'Bakeri'
    More compact cultivar with deeper blue color
  • 'Compacta' Picea pungens 'Compacta'
    Dwarf spruce shrub
    'Fat Albert' Picea pungens 'Fat Albert'
    Spruce shrub
  • 'Foxtail'
    Foxtail-like appearance of new branches
  • 'Glauca'
  • 'Glauca Globosa'
    Neat, dense, compact, rounded shape
  • 'Glauca Pendula'
    Blue needled, sprawling, spreading form
  • 'Hoopsii'
    Dense, pyramidal form and extremely glaucous blue needles
  • 'Mission Blue' Picea pungens 'Mission Blue'
    Spruce shrub
  • 'Moerheimii'
    Rich blue foliage, more open habit
  • 'Montgomery'
    Silver-blue needled, relatively compact
  • 'Otto von Bismark'
  • 'Thompsenii'
    Glaucous silver-blue foliage, symmetrical pyramidal habit
Tags:
#evergreen#drought tolerant#specimen#native tree#tree#winter interest#tsc#rabbit resistant#air pollution tolerant#cpp#deer resistant#fantz#Christmas tree#tsc-c
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Baby Blue Eyes'
    Semi-dwarf, blue-gray needles
  • 'Bakeri'
    More compact cultivar with deeper blue color
  • 'Compacta' Picea pungens 'Compacta'
    Dwarf spruce shrub
    'Fat Albert' Picea pungens 'Fat Albert'
    Spruce shrub
  • 'Foxtail'
    Foxtail-like appearance of new branches
  • 'Glauca'
  • 'Glauca Globosa'
    Neat, dense, compact, rounded shape
  • 'Glauca Pendula'
    Blue needled, sprawling, spreading form
  • 'Hoopsii'
    Dense, pyramidal form and extremely glaucous blue needles
  • 'Mission Blue' Picea pungens 'Mission Blue'
    Spruce shrub
  • 'Moerheimii'
    Rich blue foliage, more open habit
  • 'Montgomery'
    Silver-blue needled, relatively compact
  • 'Otto von Bismark'
  • 'Thompsenii'
    Glaucous silver-blue foliage, symmetrical pyramidal habit
Tags:
#evergreen#drought tolerant#specimen#native tree#tree#winter interest#tsc#rabbit resistant#air pollution tolerant#cpp#deer resistant#fantz#Christmas tree#tsc-c
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Picea
    Species:
    pungens
    Family:
    Pinaceae
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    USA
    Fire Risk Rating:
    high flammability
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Columnar
    Conical
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
    Appendage:
    Prickles
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Orange
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Female cones are oblong-cylindrical, sessile, pendulous, 2-4" long, 1" in diameter, are green with violet bloom, ripening light brown. Scales are thick based, apex is thin, and emarginate. Margins are finely toothed and undulate. Male cones are orange.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    2" to 4" cones
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Blue
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Prickly
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are alternate, saber-like, spreading more or less around stems, rigid, incurved, have apical spines, and are dull green to bluish to silvery-white in color. Leaves have stomatic lines one each lateral side. Leaves grow up to 1" in size.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Bark Description:
    Bark is purplish-gray, deeply grooved, and forms thick scales.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stem buds are broadly conical to nearly spherical, blunt, and yellowish-brown in color. Scales are loosely appressed, apices are reflexed, and they are more or less keeled. Branches are in whorls, horizontal, and the lowermost are downswept with age.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Recreational Play Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Pollution
    Rabbits