Pinus orientalis L.
Abies orientalis (L.) Poir.
Picea withmanniana Carrière
Picea wittmanniana Fisch. ex Gordon
Abies wittmanniana Voss
Common Name: Caucasian Spruce
Picea orientalis is an evergreen tree that can grow up to 20 metres tall.
Caucasian Spruce is an important timber tree in the Caucasus, where it forms extensive pure stands, many of which are managed for forestry. It has also been introduced as a forestry plantation tree in the eastern Mediterranean, and is grown as an ornamental[
Picea orientalis has a wide distribution, presumed large population, and is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a threatened category. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
W. Asia - northern Turkey and the Caucasus.
Found in pure stands or mixed with beech, pine and hornbeam, especially on shaded slopes, preferring deep protected ravines with adequate soil moisture; at elevations from 300 - 2,100 metres[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
Picea orientalis is a very cold-hardy plant, able to tolerate temperatures down to around -25°c when fully dormant[
Likes abundant moisture at the roots, if grown in drier areas it must be given a deep moist soil[
]. Tolerates poor peaty soils[
]. Succeeds in wet cold and shallow soils but is not very wind-firm in shallow soils[
]. Prefers a pH between 4 to 6[
]. Dislikes shade[
]. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution[
]. Resists wind exposure to some degree[
In some upland areas, especially over granitic or other base-poor soils, growth rate and health have been seriously affected by aluminium poisoning induced by acid rain[
Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly[
]. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus[
]. There are a number of named forms selected for their ornamental value, most of these are dwarf cultivars[
Young trees are slow growing at first but from the age of about 5 - 6 years they can grow up to 1 metre a year and this can be maintained for the next 70 years or so. Growth virtually ceases by the time the tree is 90 - 100 years old[
]. Increases in girth follow the same pattern as height increases[
]. Trees probably do not live much longer than 100 years in Britain[
]. They are occasionally planted on a small scale in Europe as a timber tree[
Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance[
The bruised leaves have a resinous aroma[
Young male catkins - raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring[
Immature female cones - cooked. The central portion, when roasted, is sweet and syrupy[
Inner bark - dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread[
]. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails.
Seed - raw. Too small and fiddly to be worthwhile unless you are desperate[
A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips[
Tannin is obtained from the bark[
Turpentine is obtained from the bark and branches[
Wood - soft, white, easily cleaves, light, durable, has a good resonance. Used for construction, furniture etc[
]. It is also valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper[
The wood of this species is of good quality, comparable to that of Norway Spruce, and is put to similar uses. Among these are construction, flooring, carpentry, furniture making, and parts of musical instruments[
Seed - stratification will probably improve germination so sow fresh seed in the autumn in a cold frame if possible[
]. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible in a cold frame[
]. A position in light shade is probably best[
]. Seed should not be allowed to dry out and should be stored in a cool place[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. They can be planted out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year, or be placed in an outdoor nursery bed for a year or so to increase in size. They might need protection from spring frosts.
Cuttings of semi-ripe terminal shoots, 5 - 8cm long, August in a frame. Protect from frost. Forms roots in the spring[
Cuttings of mature terminal shoots, 5 - 10cm long, September/early autumn in a cold frame. Takes 12 months[
Cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, early summer in a frame. Slow but sure.