Pungens or sitchensis plant ID?

severnsideSeptember 20, 2012

My Picea pungens 'Millcreek Broom' has increasingly looked like my Picea sitchensis 'Papoose' as the new growth hardened off. Here are some comparison pictures as I'm pretty unconvinced that it is what it claims to be, which now comes as little suprise. There are two pairs of pictures, hopefully an expert eye can confirm.

'Papoose' 1

"Millcreek" 1

'Papoose' 2

"Millcreek" 2

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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

Both are true to their species.
There are differences in buds and needles...

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 9:21AM
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Thanks Edwin, I suppose I was seeing the obvious similarities rather than the important differences. Other clues are that the new growth of the 'Millcreek Broom' is not like the green pom poms of the 'Papoose' being yellow and stiffer and the branching is more gnarled than the cleaner divisions of the sitchensis.

In other news I notice that Lime Cross Nursery have opened a shop on Ebay and are already on Amazon. When will we see Smidt's Ebay Emporium opening? ;0)

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 9:41AM
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Edwin, the differences in needles are clear to see. I was wondering what you see as the differences in buds. Just asking because I'm interested in learning more. Only thing I notice is that the pungens cultivar has a single bud at the shoot terminus, and the sitka seems to have multiple buds at the terminus (two appear in the picture but I geuss there's another horizontal bud we can't see for a total of three). Otherwise, the buds look similar in appearance to my eye.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 12:03PM
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Alex, here's two more showing the terminal buds a little better.


'Millcreek broom'

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 1:30PM
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I'm not seeing any Picea pungens characters in the ones so labelled. Looks Sitka to me.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 6:30PM
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Well it's a pungens doing a very good impression of a sitka, hopefully Edwin will chime in again to clarify the bud difference.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 12:13PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i didnt understand if joy was simply explaining the difference..

or commenting on something he actually sees in the pix ...

my GUESS ... he was telling you what to look for.. rather than commenting on the pix ...


    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 12:29PM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

The differences are that the buds of the Picea pungens are more globose and less pointed in comparison with the Picea sitchensis buds.

Also the scales on the Picea pungens buds are wider and less pointed then those of the Picea sitchensis buds.

I can imagine that this will not be seen at first sight, it will take some exercise...
Severn, thanks for your close up pics!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 5:31PM
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This makes total sense Edwin as with experience of a few cultivars of a species you do remember their general bud shape. For example I know that, in my experience, Pseudotsuga menziesii has slim buds. Picea pungens does always have 'chubby' buds, never slim which conversely Picea sitchensis is not remembered for, it has sharper buds. The shape of scales is a new level of scrutiny for me and one I'll observe from now on.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 9:42PM
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Bud shape is affected by other factors though, notably whether it is a shoot bud or a pollen or cone bud, and also by the vigour of the shoot. Probably individual variation too (I'd need to look at a young Sitka Spruce plantation to see how much by).

I've never seen a Blue Spruce with such obviously flattened and bicoloured needles, either. The only distinction I can see between the two sets of pics is that the 'Papoose' pics look to show sharper-pointed needles, and that's something fairly variable within Sitka Spruce (particularly between younger plants [sharp needles] and older plants [blunter needles]).


    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 9:31AM
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All you say is very compelling Resin.

Here's a thumbnail that was on Google for a long time which tantalisingly shows a bicoloured globose plant similar to 'Papoose'.
It was labelled Picea pungens 'Millcreek Broom'.

The structure is more clumpy than a 'Papoose' which is possibly due to the way the branches form in clusters as shown in this picture of mine from earlier in the year.

Either way some more growing time will show better whether similarity or distinction is the case.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 9:26AM
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