Picea engelmannii (Parry) Engelm.

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Credits

Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Article from New Trees, Ross Bayton & John Grimshaw

Recommended citation
'Picea engelmannii' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/picea/picea-engelmannii/). Accessed 2019-12-15.

Genus

Synonyms

  • Abies engelmannii Parry
  • Picea glauca subsp. engelmannii (Parry) T.M.C. Taylor

Glossary

apex
(pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
article
(in Casuarinaceae) Portion of branchlet between each whorl of leaves.
glaucous
Grey-blue often from superficial layer of wax (bloom).
truncate
Appearing as if cut off.

References

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Credits

Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Article from New Trees, Ross Bayton & John Grimshaw

Recommended citation
'Picea engelmannii' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/picea/picea-engelmannii/). Accessed 2019-12-15.

A tree 80 to 100, occasionally 150 ft high, assuming as a young tree in cultivation a pyramidal form, with slightly ascending branches; young shoots pale yellowish brown, clothed with stiff, erect down. Leaves arranged all round the twig, but thinly beneath; they are 34 to 118 in. long, quadrangular, bluntish at the tips, flexible, dull, slightly glaucous-green, with three or four lines of stomata on all four surfaces. Cones 112 to 3 in. long, 34 to 1 in. in diameter; tapered towards the top, pale shining brown when mature; scales with a truncate apex and jagged margins.

Native of the mountains of western N. America from Alberta and British Columbia (where it attains its greatest size), south to New Mexico and Arizona. This handsome spruce is very hardy, and thrives better in N. Continental Europe and New England, where the winters are severe, than it does in places with a mild climate and late spring frosts. It is comparatively rare in gardens, the tree grown under the name being frequently the glaucous form of P. pungens. The two species, although so much confused, are really very distinct. P. engelmannii is easily recognised by its downy shoots; its soft and flexible, not spine-tipped leaves; also by its shorter cones.

The finest specimens of P. engelmannii grow at Dawyck in Peeblesshire; they were collected as seedlings in the Rocky Mountains by F. R. S. Balfour in 1902 and the taller of the two measures 89 × 714 ft (1974).

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

specimens: Dawyck, Peebl., 95 × 734 ft (1982); Kailzie, Peebl., 69 × 514 ft (1982); Fairburn, Ross, 102 × 434 ft (1982).

† P. mexicana Martinez – Allied to P. engelmannii, the Mexican spruce was discovered as late as 1961, on the border between Coahuila and Nuevo Leon, south-east of Saltillo, at about 8,000 ft. There are several stands in this area, the largest of which was almost destroyed by fire in 1975. See further the article by Keith Rushforth cited above under P. chihuahuana. There are young plants in cultivation in Britain.

From New Trees

Picea engelmannii Parry ex Engelm.

Engelmann’s Spruce

This species was described by Bean (B184, S364) and Krüssmann (K191).


f. glauca Beissn

Leaves with a pronounced glaucous hue. There is an example at Dawyck, measuring 63 × 4{1/4} ft (1966). F. R. S. Balfour considered that this form would be more suitable for Scotland than the much commoner glaucous forms of P. pungens, which grow best in a hot, dry climate.

subsp. mexicana (Martínez) P.A. Schmidt

Synonyms
P. mexicana Martínez

Rushforth (1987a) treats this taxon as P. mexicana Martínez, and Ledig et al. (2004) in their recent study also consider that it should be recognised as a full species, P. mexicana, though they acknowledge that it is most closely related to P. engelmannii. If political considerations are left aside, however, it seems sensible to continue to treat it as a form of the widespread P. engelmannii from north of the border and to regard it as a relict from a wider distribution, in the same way that so many other North American species have isolated pockets of occurrence in Mexico. Disjunct populations of P. engelmannii in Arizona and New Mexico are also sometimes attributed to this taxon (Farjon 1990, Taylor et al. 1994). It is rare both in the wild and in cultivation, but in southern England it seems to grow well. Two specimens at Wakehurst Place grown from Keith Rushforth’s widely distributed collection KR 526 from La Carmen, Coahuila have pendulous shoots and very glaucous leaves; the larger of the two was about 8 m tall in 2005. A 9 m specimen was measured for TROBI in 2006 by Owen Johnson at Sandling Park, Kent. Plants from J. Hjerting & S. Ødum 2 collected on Cerro Mohinora in Chihuahua are also in cultivation. Its hardiness and tolerances are not yet fully known but P. engelmannii subsp. engelmannii is renowned as an extremely hardy and adaptable tree (Sternberg 2004); the glaucous foliage of subsp. mexicana is a valuable addition to the species’ diversity in cultivation.

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