Picea smithiana

Picea smithiana

The Picea smithiana or Himalayan spruce or Abetet morinda or Smith’s fir (Picea smithiana (Wall.) Boiss.) Is an arboreal species belonging to the Pinaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, Kingdom Plantae, Pinophyta Division, Pinopsida Class, Pinales Order, Pinaceae Family and therefore to the Genus Picea and to the P. smithiana Species.

Etymology –
The term Picea derives from Picea, which is the Latin name of the wild pine in Virgil and Pliny. The specific Smithian epithet is in gratitude to one of the many botanists named Smith but still to be attributed. The name morinda derives from the name of the tree in Nepali.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The Picea smithiana is a tree native to the western Himalayan region, in an area that includes the north-east of Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, India and central Nepal, where it lives between 2300 and 3600 meters of altitude, in areas characterized by monsoon climate. It grows at 2,400-3,600 m of altitude in the forests together with the Himalayan Cedar, Picea pungens and Abies pindrow.

Description –
The Himalayan spruce is a tree that can reach 50 meters in height, with pyramidal and narrow crown and hanging centuries-old branches. Its trunk is straight with brownish to grayish rind, fractured in irregular plates. The leaves are dark needles (the longest of any spruce, which can reach up to 5 cm in length), arranged in a spiral on the twigs, thin, soft and very pungent at the apex, dark green. The male cones are up to 3 cm long, yellow in color and inserted into the axilla of the needles; the female cones are purplish-green, which become pendulous, first light green and then brown.

Cultivation –
The Picea smithiana is an arboreal species that thanks to its elegant bearing is considered a precious ornamental essence; for this reason it is cultivated in historical parks and botanical gardens and with cultural needs similar to other firs. This beautiful conifer grows well on the slopes, in rather dry areas, with clayey and well drained soil. It can tolerate strong winds, but it is more difficult for it to develop in the maritime environment and tolerates high concentrations of atmospheric pollution with difficulty.

Uses and Traditions –
Himalayan spruce is an ornamental tree popular especially in the large gardens of Western Europe for its attractive pendulous twigs. In some forest areas it is bred for the production of timber and paper, although its slower growth than Norway’s spruce reduces its importance outside its native range. It is a plant that lends itself well to the development in bonsai form.

Preparation Mode –
The Picea smithiana besides its use as an ornamental plant and for the production of wood and paper has the characteristic that its seeds are edible and very tasty.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Pharmacy of the Lord, Advice and experience with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (edited by), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only and do not in any way represent a medical prescription; there is therefore no liability for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.




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