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Common Name: Purple-Coned Spruce
Picea purpurea is an evergreen tree that can grow up to 45.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials.
E. Asia - W. China.
Forests, 3000 - 3600 metres in N.W. Sichuan and S. Ghansu[
]. Mountains, predominantly on north facing slopes, at elevations of 2600 - 3800 metres[
Likes abundant moisture at the roots, if grown in drier areas it must be given a deep moist soil[
]. Tolerates poor peaty soils[
]. Tolerates various sites[
]. 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[
Although dormant trees are cold-hardy, the young shoots in spring are often damaged by late frosts[
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[
Fairly fast growing after a slow start, trees can average height increases of 30 - 40cm a year[
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[
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[
Wood - soft, not strong, resinous. Used for general construction[
]. It is also valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper[
]. This species produces a fine quality timber similar to that from P. likiangensis[
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.