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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

Siberian spruce (Picea obovata)


Siberian spruce is an evergreen arbour, 30-35 m tall and a d.b.h. of 40-60 cm. Branches slightly pendulous, dense, short and pubescent, twigs thinner, yellow-green, only slightly glossy, densely glandular, pubescent. Crown tower-shaped and bark grey or dark-grey with irregular checks. Winter buds conical, somewhat resinous, the basal scales somewhat cuspidate and shorter (Zheng et al., 1978; Zheng, 1983; Krussmann, 1985).


Leaves spiral, short, 1.5-2.3 cm long, dull green, more appressed on the upper branch surface and directed forward, somewhat parted below and some spreading downward, with 5-7 stoma lines on the upper side and 4-5 on the underside. In cross section, rhombic or flat rhombic with acute tips (Zheng et al., 1978; Zheng, 1983; Krussmann, 1985).

Inflorescence, flowers and fruits

Unisexual flower, with a single male flower in the leaf axil, and a female flower at the top of the brachyblast. Cone droops, oval cylinder or cylinder rectangular/circular, 5-11 cm long and 2-3 cm in diameter. It is purple or dark purple with some green when young, yellow-green with some purple before maturity and brown at maturity. Seed scales are triangular obovate, about 2 cm long and 1.7 cm wide; upper surface is circular or intercepted circular. Scales are densely arranged before maturity and begin to open 15-20 days after maturity. The rear side has two seeds with wings in the upper part. Seed is black, nabla oval, 5 mm long (1.5 cm long with seed wing). Seed wing is brown, obovate rectangular-circular (Zheng et al., 1978; Zheng, 1983; Krussmann, 1985).


Siberian spruce begins to grow from mid-June and reaches a growth peak in early July. Growth at the earlier stage constitutes 60% of the total growth increment with decreasing growth at the later stage. Growth stops at the end of July and the tree is ready for overwintering. Flower buds form between June and July and blooming occurs in May the following year. Seed is ripe in the September (FIXAR, 1981; Lu and Yan, 1989).
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