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Common Name: Weeping Spruce
Picea breweriana is an evergreen tree that can grow up to 15.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials.
South-western N. America - California to Oregon.
Usually on dry mountain ridges and peaks near the timber line, forming small groves around 2100 metres[
], though the best specimens are found in deep moist well-drained soils[
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[
Closely related to and often confused with P. smithiana.
Very slow growing when young, plants are often no more than 1 metre tall when 10 years old. Growth increases somewhat with age and can average 30cm a year in older trees[
]. Increase in the girth of trees grown in the open can be quite fast, averaging 3cm 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[
The crushed shoots 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[
]. The cones are up to 10cm long[
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 when all else fails.
Seed - raw. The seed is about 2 - 4mm long[
] and is 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, heavy, close grained[
]. It is valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper[
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.