Picea purpurea


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Picea purpurea
Species Authority: Mast.
Common Name/s:
English Purple Cone Spruce
Taxonomic Notes: The species is a northern vicariant of the Picea likiangensis complex.  It is well marked by its small cones and slender hairy shoots with appressed needles.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-12-17
Assessor/s: Farjon, A.
Reviewer/s: Thomas, P. & Rushforth, K.
Picea purpurea has suffered a reduction in its population over the past 100 years but substantial areas of forest remain. Its reduction is estimated to have been below the threshold for Vulnerable, but it remains to be seen whether the current logging ban will have completely halted it. If logging continues to a lesser extent, this species could meet the criteria for a threatened listing in the near future (A2cd). Accordingly the category Near Threatened appears most appropriate.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Endemic to China where it is found in S Gansu, E Qinghai, and NW Sichuan.
China (Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Purple Cone Spruce forms extensive forests in NW Sichuan and in the Min Shan. Logging has occurred in these forests but substantial areas of natural or semi-natural forest remain.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Picea purpurea is a subalpine species of continental mountains, occurring in a spruce belt at elevations between 2,600 m and 3,600 m a.s.l., predominantly on north-facing slopes. The soils are either grey-brown mountain soils or lithosols, usually podzolic. The climate is cold continental, with low to moderate precipitation, much of it as winter snow. It grows in pure forests or mixed with several other species of Pinaceae, e.g. Picea asperata, P. wilsonii,), Larix potaninii, and Abies fargesii, which prevails above the spruce belt towards the tree line, and with some broad-leaved trees, usually Populus spp. and Betula spp. in clearings. At lower elevations Tsuga chinensis and Quercus spp. may occur.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Logging where not accompanied by satisfactory natural regeneration (whether due to fire or grazing) has reduced the area of occupancy.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is present in a few protected areas within its range. Additionally the Chinese government’s current ban on further logging in sensitive areas should enhance the conservation of this species.
Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Picea purpurea. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 19 April 2014.
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