First Year Ponderosa Pine Seedling Germinated in Spring Growth at the end of summer – maybe 12” or so
One Year Old – The following spring Candles forming in May/June
One Year Old – Candles have expanded by July/August
Two Years Old – May/June Next set of candles are forming
Two Years Old – July/August Candles have expanded Oldest growth loses its needles
Three types of conifers based on foliage structure: Single needles – Spruce/Fir Bundle of needles - Pine Scaled foliage – Juniper/ Arborvitae Oregon State University
Sample #1 – Spruce - should be the one that rolls easiest.
Square – cross section – like a wooden match.
Now, grab the branch in your hands – sharp – pointed ends
“ pungens” means sharp
Take another needle off this sample. Hold it between your thumb and forefinger. Bend it. It should snap in half. Breaks easily. Stiff.
Pull another needle off and this time pay attention to the point on the stem where you took the needle off. Can you see that a little peg, or stalk, remains on the stem?
Also, notice how the needles spiral all the way around the stem, like the spokes of a wheel. All sides of the stem are covered with needles.
Spruce: Single Square Sharp Stiff Stalked Spiral
Golden tan, rounded, the scales peel back like an open cone.
Not so much in the fall, but after the holidays, is when you begin to notice this ‘rosette’ shape to the buds
Colorado Spruce – cones usually at top of tree University of Wisconsin
Oregon State University Colorado Spruce cone
They’re usually large, papery or woody.
When seeds are mature, 1 to 2 years, depending on the genus and species, they fall from the cone. With the cone up near the top of the tree, the seeds will fall farther from the base of the parent tree, giving the seed more room to germinate, away from it’s parent.
Male pollen cones are usually toward the bottom of the tree. They’re usually small, papery and short-lived, disintegrating once the pollen has been dispersed.
Conifers are wind pollinated. Wind currents blow the male pollen away from the parent tree to the cones at the top of another tree close by so that it’s own tree is not self-pollinated. Makes for a stronger, more diverse forest.
Spruce cones are 2” – 4” long; with papery, thin scales.
Irregularly notched edges to scales.
Compare pungens to engelmann
Engelmann Spruce is the other native spruce - compared to Colorado Spruce…
Engelmann usually not blue
Base of needle and young branch slightly hairy
Needles not as sharp as CO Spruce
Tips are more blunt – not as sharp
Cones are smaller – 1-2”
Grows at a higher elevation – 9,000’ to timberline
Engelmann can live at temperatures 50 degrees below zero.
Also quite long-lived – 400 years old at maturity
Colorado Spruce Engelmann Spruce Iowa State University
Dwarf Alberta Spruce (in Oregon!) Oregon State University Not a native – is cultivated. Dense growth conical very slow grower 1” – 2” per year As a rule, if a plant has slow growth, it’ll have dense foliage. Fast growth – loose, open form.
Pull a needle off – flat – not square in cross section
Another needle – try to bend – doesn’t snap as easily – flexible
Grasp the branch in your hands – not as sharp – soft as “fir” – “friendly”
Needle not stalked – no peg – the needle leaves a round, flat leaf scar.
Needles are usually longer than spruce – 1” – 3”
White Fir needles usually are retained on the tree for 7-10 years.
Needles point up – they usually don’t spiral around the whole branch.
They reach ‘fir’ the sky.
White Fir buds – rounded, tan Oregon State University
Buds are round and tan like Spruce buds, but they resemble a closed cone instead of an open cone. Bud scales don’t peel back.
White Fir cones Abies concolor
Cones are at the top of the tree, but instead of hanging down, they point straight up, reaching ‘fir’ the sky.
Fir: Flat Friendly –soft as “Fir” Flexible “ Fir” the sky – cones/needles point up
False Hemlock” pseudo – false; tsuga – hemlock
Not a fir, and not a hemlock. It’s own genus. Has a lot of the “fir’ characteristics:
Flat, Friendly, Flexible.
But needles are shorter than white fir, 1” or less.
Groove down the center of the needle.
Leaf scar is slightly raised, and smaller than the white fir leaf scar.
Cones – very diagnostic. They hang down, and fall off the tree intact.
3-lobed bracts – like tiny mice hiding under each scale.
Cones are all over the tree – upper and lower branches .
Douglasfir female cones and pointed buds Oregon State University
Blue Spruce University of Connecticut Douglasfir University of Connecticut White Fir University of Wisconsin
Woody Plants Group 7
Picea pungens var. glauca
Colorado Blue Spruce
Foliage flat Leaf scar is round White Fir Abies concolor University of Wisconsin Pull a needle off – flat – not square in cross section Another needle – try to bend – doesn’t snap as easily – flexible Grasp the branch in your hands – not as sharp – soft as “fir” – “friendly” Needle not stalked – no peg – the needle leaves a round, flat leaf scar. Needles are usually longer than spruce – 1” – 3” White Fir needles usually are retained on the tree for 7-10 years.
Abies leaf scars
Needles point up – they usually don’t spiral around the whole branch. They reach ‘fir’ the sky.
Needles are the same color (concolor) top and bottom
brown cones, green when immature
4" to 5" long
cones shatter when mature
cones borne on the upper third of the tree
Friendly –soft as “Fir”
“ Fir” the sky – cones/needles point up
ID Abies concolor
needles are similar in color on top and bottom
(concolor) = same color
unlike most Firs, which have solid green or blue upper surfaces, and striped silvery lower surfaces (the stomatic lines
smooth bark with resin blisters
Needles longer than spruce
Large cones held upright
Abies lasiocarpa Subalpine Fir
Thin gray bark and flat smooth needles distinguish the Subalpine Fir.
A longitudinal crease runs the length of the needle,
as is true for all firs, cones project upward from the top side of branches
Abies lasciocarpa Form
When mature 40 to 100 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet in diameter.
Flower: Monoecious; male cones bluish and borne beneath the leaves; female cones purple and borne upright near the top of the crown. Fruit: Cones are 2 to 4 inches long, cylindrical, slender, and borne upright on the twig (frequently in clusters); cone scales are deciduous, falling from the cone as seeds ripen; purple when mature.
Abies lasiocarpa Bark When young, grayish green and covered with resin blisters; later turning gray to white, unbroken except near base of large trees. Resin pockets scattered throughout inner bark.
Abies lasciocarpa needles
Flattened needles, usually about 1 inch long, thickened in the middle, bluish white bloom on all surfaces;
tips mostly rounded, but may be notched (or pointed near top of tree);
spirally arranged but uniformly upswept
commonly have a manicured appearance.
Abies lasciocarpa Twig
Stiff, orange-brown, and covered with round, flat leaf scars when needles fall.
Buds are small, rounded, and covered with pitch
terminal buds usually occur in clusters of three or more
Picea pegs and leaf scars
Picea abies Norway Spruce
Form: A medium to large tree with conical form capable of reaching over 120 feet tall
with horizontal to upward sweeping branches that often droop branchlets
Picea abies flowers
Monoecious; males yellow-brown in large groups;
females upright, purple
large evergreen tree
long narrow cones
needles leave petiole on stem when pulled off
stiff pointed needles
long pendulous branchlets
Picea abies Fruit
Cones are very large, cylindrical, 4 to 6 inches long
stiff, thin scales that are irregularly toothed
chestnut brown, maturing in fall
Picea abies Needle
stiff, 1/2 to 1 inch long
4-angled but somewhat flattened
sharp pointed tip, shiny deep green.
Each needle borne on a raised, woody peg (sterigma
Picea abies Bark
Twig: Slender to medium in size, lacking hair, shiny orangish brown; needles are borne on woody pegs; buds with very loose, orange-brown scales (resembles a rose). Bark: Red-brown and scaly, later turning gray with flaking scales or plates.
Picea engelmanii Engelman Spruce
large, narrowly pyramidal tree with ascending branches
40' to 50' tall, but can reach heights of over 100'
best in well-drained, loamy, organic soils
prefers acidic soils
needles are densely packed and glaucous blue in color
needles are four-sided, about 1" long
needles have rank odor when crushed
Picea engelmanii Flowers
Monoecious; male flowers cylindrical, purple and hanging in lower crown, females cylindrical, red and upright in the upper crown
cones found at the ends of branches
mature cones are ovoid; 1" to 3" long by 1" wide
pale tan color
cone scales have irregularly toothed margins
Picea engelmanii Bark
thin loose scales
Picea pungens Blue Spruce
Cooley Spruce Gall Adelgid
large, narrow, evergreen tree
long cones with wavy scales
needles leave petiole on stem when pulled off
needles that are 4-sided
green to blue-green color
stem tip dieback from spruce gall aphid
Picea comparison Hairless/ tan Hairs; brown Hairless, shiny orangish brown Twig Reflexed wavy Thin, irregular teeth Cone scales Scatter throughout tree Lower crown Yellow brown, large groups Male flowers 2-4” 1.5-3” 4-6” Cone .75-1.25” 1” .5-1” length Silver blue/ dark green very sharp Bluish green Deep green color pungens engelmanii abies
Pseudotsuga menziesii Douglas Fir
Flower: Males oblong red to yellow near the branch tips, females reddish with long bracts near the branch tips
Fruit – 3 to 4 in long with rounded scales. A three lobed bracts ‘mouse rear-end’
Twig: slender, red-brown, pointed red brown buds
Bark: smooth & gray on young, red-brown with ridges and deep furrows on mature trees
Pyramidal crown, stems are straight, loose habit
Moist, well drained slightly acidic soil
Queen Fir – one of the largest know Douglas Fir are second largest pine tree http://www.botanik.uni-bonn.de/conifers/pi/ps/menziesii.htm
Closeup of the underside of a sun foliage shoot of P. menziesii , showing pollen cone buds and the manner of leaf attachment to the twig
Single needles, yellow green to blue green ¾ to ¼ in long, very fragrant, blunt or slightly rounded tips, in two rows (V shaped)
Immature seed cone and active pollen cones on a shoot of var. menziesii