How blue can you get?

tunillaNovember 26, 2011

Hi folks. I was surfing around ,checking-out on various plantgrowers here in Europe, and I bumped into this advert for a "new" Picea pungens cv, named 'Super Blue'.

Anybody growing this plant? It sure looks very blue and compact !

Check-out the second advert in the link below. T.

Here is a link that might be useful: Picea pungens 'Super Blue'

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Damn, if it's a true compact then I want one, leaders look to be about 8" on possibly a 2.5' tree. Comparable to A.lasiocarpa 'Compacta' size?

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 5:43PM
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Katsura Gardens(6)

As it is being advertised as a Christmas tree I would guess it is propagated by seed. a quick google search led me to Treehaven Evergreen Nsy in Elma N.Y. where they indeed list it with their seedlings. The next question is :do we believe the photo in the adverisment?

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 5:46PM
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Good point, John. Or maybe it's an upright cultivariant of something like 'Globosa' or 'Glauca Globosa' wich can be multiplied by cuttings? Seedstrains wich give a high percentage of very blue AND compact trees would be rare imo! T.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 6:10PM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

I think it's the Picea pungens 'Super Better Blue' which are from seeds indeed, selected by the Wittboldt-Mueller Nursery from Germany.
Next year I've these also availlable, these were just potted a month ago.
Tunilla, how many do you need? ;0)
The company advert is also from a Dutch Export nursery...

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 4:49PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

arent there a few on this side of the pond with said claims .... the names of which i never committed to memory ...

i am surprised a noted dutch grower [or wherever edwin is] would bother with un-named seed grown plants ....

and dont tell me they are Picea pungens 'Super Blue'... with quotes.. if ... and i will yell.. THEY ARE NOT!!!! ALL THE SAME PLANT.. which by definition.. seed grown plants are not genetically identical ... [and i doubt they are tissue cultured ....] .. should not there be no quotes.. and perhaps a 'forma' throw in there for good measure?????

its a nomenclature nightmare... regardless of how blue.. or how pretty they are ....


    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 6:30PM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

Oh brother...just give me 'Hoopsii'.

One of the bluest although it has competition.


    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 6:42PM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

Ken, stop yelling because you don't have no background info about this plant.
The 'Super Better Blue' derives as a many years seedling selection and the motherplant now produce seedlings which have an uniform and outstanding blue colour.
Because of this quality it's a good and cheap way to offer nice blue Christmas trees...

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 3:00AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

so everyone is fine with the nomenclature .... ????

i do not profess to be truly 'up on' all the technical rules... but i dont understand why this is ok ...

to be clear.. i have no problem with seed grown intense blue plants ... nor selling them.. nor marketing them ... nor owning them ....

i just want to know which single plant is actually the 'named' plant .. and which are all its kin ...

what is the point of 'rules' ... if they dont have to be followed????

or is this one of those 'consensus' theories.. where all those in charge.. say its good enough for them????

ken, aka 'devils advocate' in this post ...

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 7:45AM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

Ken, in case you don't know, perennial hybrids are cultivated this way for a long time and F1, F2 or whatever F hybrid will also show the same characteristics from seed but we're used to it and see it as "normal".
Well, Mr. Kurt Wittboldt-Mueller did the same thing with this blue Picea and I think it's the only conifer which is crossed this way for this goal...

Edwin, aka the "conifer judge" in this post ;0)

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 8:15AM
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But saying that perennials too are often marketed this way simply does not indicate that such naming is following accepted rules for doing such. It just indicates that a suspect practice is already widespread in a related area of the industry. That's all Ken is saying.

I have no skin in this game. In fact, I prefer "seed strains" to clonal cultivars in many cases. The existence of at least a trace of genetic variability is a good thing in my scheme. But to use the nomenclature of true, clonal varieties of plants for another group of plants that are in fact a seed strain is not following the accepted practices of the industry.

Having said that, this could indeed be a nice entry into the world of Picea pungens. It simply needs to be what it is.


    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 11:29AM
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Hi folks! First of all, we all know where most Xmas trees end up when the festivities are over...So, if the aim of Mr. Kurt Wittboldt-Mueller was to produce a uniform compact blue Xmas tree with a higher sales potential than say yer standard Picea omorika or Abies nordmanniana, then I can only salute his succes in doing so. Should Xmas trees be sold with a tag for the one-in-a-million chance that people like us snatch one up? Not sure ; we know our small-scale growers who produce collectors plants from mother-plants of known provenance if that's what we want.

So, YES Edwin, I want a couple of these cute little P. pungens ' SPB Xmas trees' if you can spare them !
Next year I will festoon them with nice silver balls at Xmas and send a picture to the forum.
And don't come crying for scion-wood if they happen to produce a few TINY brooms (exept Edwin, of course!) T.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 1:44PM
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Ament(5a SD)


I would like a couple to plant in my yard, Just so I can place lights on them in the yard each Christmas. =P I detest cutting down trees every year to drag them in and festoon them with decorations only to see them end up on the curb and then the dump. =(

So, if anyone can, or will forward a few My way, I would be absolutely thrilled at the prospect of growing some, to enchant the children of the neighborhood and myself with a few lovely trees each year, all lit up. =)

~Tina, who hasn't cut down a Christmas tree ever!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 10:31PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

there is no skin in any part of this.. its just a nomenclature debate ...

and i do understand.. the whole point is production growth.. within the harvestable xmas tree market ... and i will tell you ... i would kill for a blue xmas tree ... if the price was right ...

here is my problem ... back in the 60's and 70's ... in hosta's infancy ... they thought all 'elegans' .. a giant blue hosta came true from seed... so for a decade ... EVERYTHING that they grew from seed ... they called 'elegans' .... with the quote marks ... and that would be f1, f2, F forever ....

fast forward 30 to 40 years.. and guess what .. we cant even tell you what the original 'elegans' is ...

and that is the base problem with 'naming' a seedling group .. as a cultivar ...

again ... please be assured.. i am in no way denigrating his work .. his effort nor his result ... i am just DEBATING THE NOMENCLATURE ...


Here is a link that might be useful: though they may all look the same to you.. they arent

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 9:02AM
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While I have no expertise in this area, I'll suggest that vegetables comprise another group of seed-grown cultivars. The farm-grown produce in your local grocery for example. As far as I can tell, the difference between annuals/perennials v. woody plants in this respect is mainly the generation length. In other words, it takes so long for trees to grow up and produce seed that it would take a very long time to select for traits over many generations of inbreeding, to produce your homozygote (F0?). Herbaceous plants on the other hand can produce a new generation once a year or more frequently. Plant breeders routinely select for favorable traits and generate "cultivars", which will reproduce to generate genetically identical offspring so long as they remain inbred. Think all that sweet corn, beefy tomato, etc. But for a breeder with the inclination and the time to invest, I see no reason why one couldn't take the same approach to breed a cultivar of blue spruce that is propagated from seed. Again, I am not an expert so please jump in and correct me.

I found the following on Wikipedia under "cultivar":

Some cultivars "come true from seed", retaining their distinguishing characteristics when grown from seed. Such plants are termed a "variety", "selection" or "strain" but these are ambiguous and confusing words that are best avoided. In general cultivars grown from seeds produce highly variable seedling plants, and should not be labelled with, or sold under, the parent cultivar's name (see [25] an article by Tony Lord of The RHS Plant Finder).

Deliberately seed-raised cultivars can be produced by uncontrolled pollination provided the cultivar can be distinguished by one or more characters that are distinct, uniform and stable under propagation. They may be produced as "lines" that are produced by repeated self-fertilization or inbreeding or "multilines" that are made up of several closely related lines. Sometimes they are F1 hybrids which are the result of a deliberate repeatable single cross between two pure lines. A few F2 hybrid seed cultivars also exist, such as Achillea 'Summer Berries'.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia cultivar page

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 12:48PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey grove... you are confusing LOGIC with nomenclature rules.. lol ....

anyway.. i was.. as noted.. just playing the devils advocate ... they look like gorgeous trees ... i wish the developer all the luck in the world with them ...

hey!!! i got an idea... since horstmanns silberloche [i am not checking spelling this morning] comes somewhat true from seed ... why dont we call all the look alike seedlings H.L. ... wait.. someone did that all ready ...


    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 9:09AM
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