Can you please help me identify this very old conifer in my daughter's garden:
Is it a Picea engelmannii?
Could well be, but the pics aren't good enough quality to be 100% certain.
Do you mean the pic for the cone or the tree itself? Everything is buried in thick snow right now. I will try to get better pic when the weather improves.
Look picea pungens for me
If you can get a close look at the stem (jeweler's loupe or magnifying glass might help), it will help distinguish between pungens and engelmannii.
The cones in the second pic are old pollen cones - no useful identification features in them, unfortunately.
I did not suspect it is a Picea pungens because all my Picea pungens seems to have much longer cones like these:
However, as Resin pointed out, those cones in the earlier pic are not the proper ones.
I will try to get a closeup picture of the needles when there is a chance.
I will try to get a pic of the real cones when there is a chance.
Thanks to all.
The only honest answer, given the lack of data, is who the hell knows? And to jump from speculating it is engelmannii to speculating it is pungens is like the blind leading the blind--literally. IF we can assume this is Canada in the pics, and IF we can assume the tree is wild (both big IFs) then it could be engelmannii or glauca, less likely rubens or mariana, but certainly not pungens.
When better pics can be made, show cone close-ups with a ruler, surface of latest shoot (for hairs), and needles that show length and sharpness of tips. Then you can separate any of the native Canadian species.
"and IF we can assume the tree is wild (both big IFs)"
It's in a garden, so it is safe to assume it is NOT wild ;-)
I have 150-ft. ponderosas in my garden that are about 150 yrs old. Are they wild, Resin?
The garden is in southern Ontario, Canada; far away from the native habitat of Picea engelmanii in Canada (west of the Rockies in BC). The garden is in the centre of a very well established core of an old city. So the considerations of 'native' or 'wild' will be very long shots. I would think Resin's assumption is quite safe.
Ah, you are beginning to fill in some missing pieces. Glauca should have been the first bald speculation.
It appears it will not be possible to have a pic of the cone next to a rule until the three feet of snow melts away. However, I have a couple more pic that may suggest it is more likely a pungens.
The cones are much longer than previously thought, and the base of the needle is quite smooth. The needles are very stiff and sharp.
You pretty well just described pungens. Now chew a needle and if you can't stand it, it is pungens.
That's a Picea pungens conifer.
While Picea engelmannii has somewhat sharp needles they won't bite you like harden off pungens needles.
Thanks Dave and pinetree.
When I first saw this tree with somewhat dropping branch tips compared to all my Picea pungens which have more up pointing branches (and the initial pic of small cones), I was hoping that it might be something different:
I guess this is just the age.
Yep, definitely Picea pungens.
Resin, Thanks for the confirmation