Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Picea Asperata

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Picea asperata (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Picea asperata (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun

Flowering period: Spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 40m

Eventual Spread: 15m

Hardiness: 6a – 8b

Family: Pinaceae

Picea asperata is an evergreen tree with a broadly conical crown. Its grey/ green leaves are ascending, needle like, slightly curving, up to 2.5cm long and 2mm broad. Its trunk may achieve a diameter of up to 1m. Its grey/ brown bark flakes and appears as scaly plates. Its monoecious flowers are wind pollinated. Its fruit are in the form of cylindrical cones, up to 15cm long and 3cm broad, appearing green, maturing to a chestnut brown.

Picea asperata Leaf (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Picea asperata Leaf (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Picea asperata, commonly known as the Dragon Spruce or Yun Shan, is native to western China. In its native habitat it grows in pure stands on mountain slopes and river basins. Parts of this tree have historically been eaten.

The etymological root of the binomial name Picea is derived from the Lain Pix meaning ‘pitch or tar’ in reference to the Spruce trees resin. Asperata is derived from the Latin aspera meaning ‘sharp’ or ‘sour’.

The landscape architect may find Picea asperata useful as an attractive parkland tree. It will not tolerate atmospheric pollution.

Ecologically, Picea asperata seeds are attractive to some birds and mammals.

Picea asperata Bark (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Picea asperata Bark (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Picea asperata prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It prefers an acid to neutral pH of soil, it will tolerate very acidic soils. It will tolerate nutrient poor soils.

Picea asperata requires little maintenance.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog