Identification: Brewer's Spruce vs Norway Spruce

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by wcutler, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Well, it's a long story. Ron B mention in this Picea breweriana thread that there's a large Brewer's Weeping Spruce mentioned in Gerald Straley's Trees of Vancouver. It was also mentioned in an unpublished book of heritage trees, so I went looking for it. It does not seem to be there, though the location given is not a new house. But I found this other tree and wonder if it's the same species. A friend tells me that most of what I was calling Brewer's Spruce is really Norway Spruce, Picea abies.

    Tree 1
    This is the tree in question, on the west side of Angus, just south of 33rd. Now I can't remember if the two cones on the left in the last photo are from the same tree or from a tree I saw earlier. The cone on the right is definitely from this tree. If it's P. breweriana, is it an impressive size for this species?
    20121105_Angus33rd_BrewersSpruce_Cutler_P1360213.jpg 20121105_Angus33rd_BrewersSpruce_Cutler_P1360214.jpg 20121105_Angus33rd_BrewersSpruce_Cutler_P1360201.jpg 20121105_Angus33rd_BrewersSpruce_Cutler_P1360209.jpg

    Tree 2
    I was trying to contrast it with this tree, that I'm now guessing is a Norway Spruce. Is that ID right?
    20121105_33rdAspen_NorwaySpruce_Cutler_P1360189.jpg 20121105_33rdAspen_NorwaySpruce_Cutler_P1360191.jpg 20121105_33rdAspen_NorwaySpruce_Cutler_P1360196.jpg

    I have another set with the same question. The three trees on the left are near the putting green in Stanley Park. A list of trees in the area shows Norway Spruce, but not how many of them.
    20121029_StanleyPark_Picea_Cutler_P1350371.jpg

    Tree 3
    Compared to its neighbours, the appearance of this tree is silkier, if that makes any sense at all talking about a spruce. With three trees so close together, I can't be sure that I have the right cone for the tree. None of the cones on the trees was close enough for me to get a good photo.
    20121029_StanleyPark_Picea3_Cutler_P1350383.jpg 20121029_StanleyPark_Picea3_Cutler_P1350384.jpg 20121029_StanleyPark_Picea3_Cutler_P1350389.jpg

    Tree 4
    This one seems intermediate between the one above and the others. I'd have thought Brewer's Spruce, except that compared to the previous one, it doesn't look nearly as weeping, so Norway Spruce?
    20121029_StanleyPark_Picea4_Cutler_P1350378.jpg 20121029_StanleyPark_Picea4_Cutler_P1350379.jpg 20121029_StanleyPark_Picea4_Cutler_P1350382.jpg
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    All Norway Spruces.

    Brewer's has very different foliage and cones:
     

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  3. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Thanks, Michael. I don't understand what about the foliage. Longer needles? Not as compact? I'm going to post the UBCBG P. breweriana in that other thread. I've had that to compare with, but I don't get it yet.

    I think I see that the cone scales have to be wider for breweriana.
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yep, longer needles and not as compact; also if you look at an individual needle, on Picea abies they're quadrangular in cross-section and the same green on all sides, whereas on P. breweriana they're somewhat flattened in section, dark green on one side, and much lighter with whitish stomatal bands on the other side.
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Siskiyou spruce is more like Serbian spruce. The big, leathery cones of Norway spruce are distinctive. And P. breweriana is rare outside of collections, I remember only one being mentioned by Straley.

    Down here you see small ones here and there because a large-parted clone was named and dispersed by Wells Nursery in Mount Vernon for a time.

    Whereas Norway spruce is abundant and large, throughout the region.

    Tree manuals and guidebooks point out the differences between the cultivated species.
     
  6. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Thanks, Ron. I hadn't come across (or remembered) Siskiyou Spruce for Picea breweriana. Serbian spruce, Picea ormorika, is described as having similar needles; I hope it's recognizable by the narrow shape.
     
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    More easily by its shorter needles and less strongly pendulous shoots.

    Young trees (before Brewer's Spruces are old enough to weep significantly; their juvenile needles are also a bit shorter) are trickier to tell apart, but generally, young Brewer's has a sparser, more open crown than young Serbian.
     
  8. Daniel Mosquin

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

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    Wendy, we'll just have to go see it in the wild.
     
  9. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Highly recommended. One reasonably easy spot is to take the track (suitable for 4-wheel drive cars, or even a good ordinary car) to Fiddler Mountain / Chetco Pass near Selma, OR. The cone in my pic above is from there. Not certain if they're still there as the 2002 Biscuit Fire was in that area, though patches of trees are still showing on google earth very close to where I got it (Sep. 2000).
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Pagoda habit frequent with Serbian spruce here, whereas Siskiyou spruce typically has rapid reduction in branch size from bottom to top - even in the small examples seen most of the time here. Usual aspect is more pyramidal and broad-based, rather than spire-like. Leaning UBC plant is built more like Serbian spruce (or mountain hemlock) than is normal for Siskiyou spruce in local plantings.
     
  11. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Oh, great, my one example. Daniel, when are we going?
     
  12. Daniel Mosquin

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

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    I did the Babyfoot Lake hike a couple summers ago, which I suppose is 8km south of Chetco Pass, and did see a few individuals. Not the most fun hike in the world, thanks to the Biscuit Fire, mostly walking through burned trees (and it was a fairly hot day, to boot). I'm guessing at Chetco Pass the trees are roadside?
     
  13. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yes, it was at the roadhead, at 42.240025° -123.800134°. Been checking more carefully on google earth* and unfortunately they are no longer there though.

    There is still live forest around 42.233246° -123.769132°, but I can't remember if that area had Brewer's in or not.

    * G.E.'s latest update from 8th Feb 2011 is much clearer than the default imagery from 6th "29" 2005 (??), but is only visible with the historical tab.

    Looking at the extent of the Biscuit Fire, I suspect Oregon's Brewer's Spruce population has been very seriously affected. This may be botanically important as I noticed that Oregon Brewer's had significantly larger cones (mostly 10-15 cm) than California Brewer's (mostly 7-11 cm). That is based on a fairly small sample size though.
     
  14. Daniel Mosquin

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

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    The Biscuit Fire had to have had an impact. The still-forested area around Babyfoot Lake is a small patch of green surrounded by the silver and black of the burnt forest.
     
  15. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I found a Brewer's Weeping Spruce today at the Old Arboretum. It even came with a tag, but I thought I had it even before seeing the tag. Of course, considering how many other trees I thought have been Brewer's Spruce, what I thought doesn't really mean much, but I might be learning something. The thing is, it had the more sparce needles that Michael's example showed. That's what made me think I had it. No cones that I could find. Maybe too young? I have no idea if the "03" means it was planted in 2003.
    20121110_UBCBG_BrewersSpruce_Cutler_P1360763.jpg 20121110_UBCBG_BrewersSpruce_Cutler_P1360773.jpg
    20121110_UBCBG_BrewersSpruce_Cutler_P1360764.jpg 20121110_UBCBG_BrewersSpruce_Cutler_P1360765.jpg 20121110_UBCBG_BrewersSpruce_Cutler_P1360770.jpg
    20121110_UBCBG_BrewersSpruce_Cutler_P1360767.jpg 20121110_UBCBG_BrewersSpruce_Cutler_P1360768.jpg

    If having sparcer needles is a characteristic, then the UBCBG one would seem to have branches that are too dense. Here's the branch photo of the garden one.
    20121030_UBCBG_PiceaBreweriana_Cutler_P1350549.jpg
     
  16. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yep, still too young for cones, it'll need to be about twice that size before it does.

    The last pic shows a Brewer's, despite being shorter and denser. It could be still with juvenile foliage, or it could be from being in better light (the one in the new pics here looks rather shaded).
     
  17. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    True, the arboretum one is in a very shady area, and the garden one is in full sun.

    So what are you looking at to be able to say it looks like a Brewer's? Anything besides the white on the back of the needles? If the arboretum one had looked like that, I wouldn't have recognized it.
     
  18. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    One useful character is that the needles curve outward from the shoot with the white bands on the convex side; on other spruces where the needles are curved, the curvature is in the other direction (white bands if any, on the concave face).
     
  19. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I think this looks like the Brewer's Spruce I posted previously, and would like confirmation that that's what this is, if that's possible without cones. This tree is in Queen Elizabeth Park, where the entrance off 37th meets the parking lot south of the golf course. Thanks.
     
  20. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yep, that's a Brewer's Spruce.
     

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