This tree has me stumped.

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by druther, Dec 3, 2016.

  1. druther

    druther Member

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    I'd appreciate some suggestions as to the I.D. of this tree. It is growing on the east slope of the Cascades near Merritt. The hanging cones and dark green needles suggest it is a spruce tree, but the grey bark with horizontal slashes looks like that of a fir to me. The tree is 30 feet tall and the trunk in the photo is 6 - 8 inches in diameter. My handbook, "Plants of Southern Interior British Columbia...." (Parish, et al.) is not helpful. Hybrid? white spruce ? 01.jpg white spruce ? 02.jpg
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Look again at Engelmann Spruce.
     
  3. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    To me the foliage on the tree looks quite different from the foliage shown on the first picture. Are you sure you didn't mix up your pictures?
     
  4. druther

    druther Member

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    Sundrop, here is another photo of the tree which shows both the trunk and the cones.
     

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  5. druther

    druther Member

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    Ron B, I originally thought it was an Engelmann or a white spruce because of the shape of the cones, but the bark does not have scales as Parish describes. To me, it looks more like that of the Pacific Silver Fir, with the horizontal markings.
     

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  6. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    True firs, like Pacific silver fir, will always have upright cones. There's no doubt that it's a spruce. Sorry, the original bark photo looks like a different plant, like Sundrop mentioned. Note the smooth grey bark on the dead small branches in your original bark pic vs. the rough brownish bark on the small branches (from needles) in your latter one (of spruce).
     
  7. druther

    druther Member

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    Daniel,

    I agree that they are not the cones of a fir. My second last photo (white spruce ? 03.jpg) shows both the hanging cones and the smooth grey bark (bottom left). I will take it to be an Englemann spruce in spite of the bark. Perhaps a young Englemann has smooth bark like a young Douglas Fir.

    Thanks.
     
  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Pic 1 - White Spruce; cone scales too rounded for Engelmann Spruce. Presumably an escape from cultivation this far west.
    Pic 2 - Fir Abies sp. Note the smooth twigs as well as bark, with no pulvini; agree with Sundrop & Daniel, a different tree to Pic 1.
    Pic 3 - Engelmann Spruce or Engelmann Spruce / White Spruce intergrade
     
  9. pinenut

    pinenut Active Member 10 Years

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    You're sure its not Porsild's Spruce? Picea glauca var. porsildii? It matches the description, and it looks like the one I saw near Hinton Alberta in about 1966.
     
  10. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    That's usually considered a synonym of typical Picea glauca (e.g. Flora N America) and for those for whom it is accepted as distinct, is from NWTerritories, not Alberta ;-)
     
  11. pinenut

    pinenut Active Member 10 Years

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    We were on an orientation with an instructor from NAIT's Forest Technology program in an area just south of Hinton and had just gone through some basic recognition steps for the trees around us. My memory is a little spotty, but the gist of it was Spruce: 4 sided needles- you can roll them between thumb and forfinger- and rough bark. Fir: flat needles and smooth bark with resin blisters.
    So I looked at the tree next to me. Hmm. Four sided needles. Umm, smooth bark. Oh oh. just popped a resin blister. "Uh sir? What's this one then?"
    The next day he told us it was a Porsild spruce. He'd had to look it up.
    Now we just had a guy ask about a tree that had certain features that seemed to contradict each other, and there was a suggestion that he'd mixed up his photos. I'm just sayin' that a tree exists that has these features whether its a synonym or distinct. I'm not a botanist. I'm just a guy that notices (and remembers) oddball stuff, and that was one of them.
    Cheers

    Postscript: And apparently what I saw wasn't particularly rare. See The Forestry Chronicle here: An Error Occurred Setting Your User Cookie
    I don't know what's going on with the error message above, but it still connects to the page about the Porsild spruce in Canada.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2016

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