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Picea pungens

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA PINOPSIDA PINALES PINACEAE

Scientific Name: Picea pungens
Species Authority: Engelm.
Common Name(s):
English Blue Spruce, Colorado Spruce

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-03-14
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Stritch, L.
Justification:
This species has a very large extent of occurrence and although subpopulations tend to be small and are often isolated, no overall decline is known to occur. It is therefore assessed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: USA: Rocky Mountains, mainly in SE Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, with isolated populations in Montana, Arizona and New Mexico.
Countries:
Native:
United States (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In the SW states of Arizona and New Mexico, and in parts of Utah, the subpopulations tend to be small and isolated, but elsewhere they are more substantial, although individual trees can be scattered among other conifers or Aspen (Populus tremuloides). This is a natural consequence of climatic differences between the more arid SW USA and moister central Rocky Mountains.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Picea pungens is a subalpine species occurring in the Rocky Mountains at elevations between 1,800 m and 3,300 m a.s.l., commonly along mountain streams or on moist, N-facing slopes. The soils are mountain lithosols and streambed gravels of various origin, usually poorly developed. The climate is continental, with long, cold and snowy winters (frost free days 60 or less) and short, but relatively warm summers. Annual precipitation ranges from 600 mm to 900 mm. This species grows in small, scattered groves, especially near perennial streams, or scattered and mixed with Pinus contorta, Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca, or Populus tremuloides. It is everywhere a rare constituent of the subalpine forest.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Blue Spruce is widely planted as an ornamental; perhaps the most famous trees of this species are planted in front of Lenin's mausoleum in the Kremlin in Moscow. Its symmetrical crown and glaucous blue foliage make it an ideal tree for gardening and landscaping. In nature trees with green foliage exist, but these are not much wanted as the stock for horticulture; instead blue forms have been repeatedly selected. A substantial number of cultivars, both tree forms and dwarf forms, have been raised displaying various colours and hues of the needles which tend to change with their age and become less intense. It is also popular as a Christmas tree, especially in the USA. The wood of this species is brittle and knotty because it retains its branches on the bole and is therefore of little commercial value.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No specific threats have been identified for this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Blue Spruce is known from several protected areas throughout its range.

Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Picea pungens. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 October 2014.
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