unknown tree - blue spruce?

Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by jloftus, May 20, 2008.

  1. jloftus

    jloftus Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    vancouver
    I was hoping to plant some evergreens that would be useful clippings in my Christmas wreath. Unfortunately I don't know the names of the boughs that I most love. I found this tree at a nursery and the salesperson said it was a blue cypress but I doubt that it is. I was thinking it could be type of blue spruce but I don't think its the colorado blue. Do you know what it is? And secondly, do you have any suggestions for practical trees that would help to create interesting wreaths? I have a standard 50 ish foot lot, so can't plant anything too huge. It needs to be trimable.
    unknown tree full view.jpg

    unknown tree.jpg
     
  2. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    4,399
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,671
    Likes Received:
    550
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
  4. tlpenner

    tlpenner Active Member

    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    vancouver
    Sounds like the spruce id has been confirmed, but as to evergreen boughs for wreath-making, you should consider the English yew Taxus baccata.

    The needles are wonderfully, glossy dark emerald green on top, lighter beneath. Needles are soft rather than sharp, so very easy to work with. Wood is tough and flexible--once used for making bows, as in for Robin Hood. The scent is delightful.

    They take a while to establish, but once they are will grow between 12-20" per year, capping off at around 20' (but yours won't get that big, 'cause you will prune 12-20" off the top every December...) Best in part shade, I think.

    Be wary as some of the cultivars are dwarf and creeping versions, not quite suited to your needs. BTW--they do lose their needles as soon as they dry out, so best only for outdoor use.

    regards
    Tracy
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    11,065
    Likes Received:
    309
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    Colorado Spruce (Blue Spruce) is definitely NOT suitable for making wreaths - the needles are viciously sharp.

    The traditional species for making christmas wreaths are Caucasian Fir Abies nordmanniana and Noble Fir Abies procera, which have fairly dense, soft needles.

    Yew Taxus baccata could be used as a substitute, but the needles get to look dried out and dreary surprisingly quickly, and it also doesn't have the 'christmas' resinous smell that the firs do.

    Western Redcedar Thuja plicata and Lawson's Cypress Chamaecyparis lawsoniana are also very commonly used for making wreaths, but more for funeral wreaths rather than specifically christmas wreaths, so using them would rather hint at the wrong associations.
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,671
    Likes Received:
    550
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Golden forms of the cypress are used in commercial holiday wreaths here.
     
  7. jloftus

    jloftus Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    vancouver
    I was leaning towards it not being a spruce as the needles were quite small and soft not prickly - the picture perhaps makes the needles look bigger than what they really were. Is there any possibility it could be a type of fir? I've taken a few books out of the library and I found a picture of a balsam fir - Abies balsameo 'hudsonia' - that has a similar compact needle structure but is quite green instead of blue. Also, it is a dwarf variety.
     
  8. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    11,065
    Likes Received:
    309
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    Definitely a spruce. The needles are soft, because they're new young ones that have only just budded out and not hardened up yet; they will be hard well before christmas. Try testing the older, darker-coloured needles further in on the foliage, to see what they are like when mature.
     

Share This Page