Differences between Picea and Abies?

Discussion in 'Plants: Nomenclature and Taxonomy' started by GreenLarry, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. GreenLarry

    GreenLarry Active Member

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    In a nutshell how does one differentiate between these 2 very similar genera of conifer?
     
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    One generally doesn't mind giving a handshake to Abies (spruce needles are generally pointy, fir needles tend to be pliable). Michael F, I'm sure, will answer in more detail.
     
  3. GreenLarry

    GreenLarry Active Member

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    Thanks Daniel!
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Abies:
    Twigs after leaves fall are fairly smooth, usually fairly thick
    Mature cones upright, disintegrating to release seeds when ripe
    Needles often (though not always!) blunt, usually medium length (mostly 2-5 cm)

    Picea:
    Twigs after leaves fall are rough with little 'pegs' (pulvini), usually fairly thin (thick on lead shoots)
    Mature cones pendulous, opening but staying intact to release seeds when ripe
    Needles often (though not always!) sharp, usually fairly short (mostly 1-3 cm)

    Of course it gets a bit trickier when you add in Pseudotsuga and Tsuga, etc. ;-)

    Pseudotsuga:
    Twigs after leaves fall are fairly smooth, usually fairly thin (thick on lead shoots)
    Mature cones pendulous, opening but staying intact to release seeds when ripe, with long bracts, medium (mostly 5-12 cm)
    Needles often (though not always!) blunt, soft, medium length (mostly 2-4 cm)

    Tsuga:
    Twigs after leaves fall are fairly smooth, very slender; lead shoot drooping
    Mature cones pendulous, opening but staying intact to release seeds when ripe, small (mostly under 3 cm)
    Needles often (though not always!) blunt, soft, short (mostly 1-2 cm)
     
  5. GreenLarry

    GreenLarry Active Member

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    Great stuff Michael! Thanks
     
  6. JT1

    JT1 Well-Known Member

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    I have found very simply put abies have smooth bark picea is rough. Some exceptions may exist in the world, but this has not failed me yet...
     

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