This subspecies has yellow-brown branchlets with prominent ridges and grooves, and the buds are less resinous than in the type. The resin canals are marginal (medial in subsp. sibirica) and the cones are yellowish brown, with broader bract scales. Farjon 1990. Distribution KYRGYZSTAN: western Tien Shan. Habitat North slopes of mountains or steep valleys between 1300 and 2850 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 2. Conservation status Vulnerable. Illustration Liu 1971.
Seed of subsp. semenovii collected by John Silba in the Tien Shan in 1989 is the only introduction of this taxon that we can trace, but material seems to have been disseminated quite widely. For Keith Rushforth (pers. comm. 2007) in Devon it has proved hardier than subsp. sibirica, which has died out for him, subsp. semenovii by contrast having grown, slowly, to almost 2 m (in 15 years). At Howick two specimens planted in 1992 are about 2.5 m tall, and although not damaged by frost, have been reluctant to form good leaders (C. Howick, pers. comm. 2007). There is also a small tree at Wakehurst Place.