Picea orientalis

Oriental Spruce




  • native to Asia Minor
  • zone 4

Habit and Form

  • evergreen tree with horizontal, pendulous branches
  • narrow, compact, conical shape
  • 50' to 60' tall , can reach 120'
  • slow growth rate
  • medium texture

Summer Foliage

  • needles are 4-sided with a blunt tip
  • 1 to 4 stomatal lines on each side
  • needles are 0.25" to 0.50" long
  • shortest needles of all spruces
  • dark green color

Autumn Foliage

  • no fall color, evergreen


  • monoecious
  • not ornamentally important


  • cones are on short stalks found at the ends of branches
  • mature cones are cylindrical; 2" to 4" long by 1" wide
  • reddish purple color turning to a medium brown at maturity
  • cone scales have smooth margins


  • medium brown color
  • peeling, thin scales


  • adaptable to many soil types as long as they are moist
  • can not tolerate harsh winters
  • full sun

Landscape Use

  • specimen
  • screen
  • large shade tree when an evergreen is desired


  • browning of foliage in severe winters
  • no disease or insect problems

ID Features

  • large, narrow, evergreen tree
  • long cones with entire scales
  • needles leave petiole on stem when pulled off
  • very short needles that are 4-sided
  • dark green color


  • by seed, requires no treatments
  • cultivars by grafting or some by cuttings


'Aureospicata' (the same as 'Aurea') - A popular selection, this plant is notable for its bright yellow new growth. The needles mature to green on this broad tree.

'Gowdy' - This narrow selection features short, deep green needles and a fine branching habit. It is slow-growing and smaller, perhaps reaching 10' tall in time.

'Skylands' - Perhaps the most popular form, this cultivar bears golden needles all year. The color may be muted on shaded branches of this slow-growing, pyramidal tree.

Various dwarf and semi-weeping dwarf selections exist, including: 'Nana', a mounded grower to 3' tall; and 'Pendula' (also called 'Weeping Dwarf'), a slow-grower with drooping branchlets.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

The digital materials (images and text) available from the UConn Plant Database are protected by copyright. Public use via the Internet for non-profit and educational purposes is permitted. Use of the materials for profit is prohibited.

Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database, http://hort.uconn.edu/plants, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.