Picea pungens

Picea pungens

The Colorado Spruce or Colorado Spruce (Picea pungens Engelm.) Is a tree of the Pinaceae family.

Systematics –
From the 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. pungens Species.

Etymology –
The generic term Picea derives from picea, the Latin name of the wild pine in Virgil and Pliny; the specific epithet pungens comes from pung, or sting: pungent, sharp-pointed.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The Colorado Spruce is a tree native to central-western regions of North America, with a distribution ranging from Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. This plant was then imported into the European continent after the mid-nineteenth century.

Description –
Picea pungens is an arboreal species that can reach 25-30 and even 40 meters in height with pyramidal and dense foliage. The trunk is erect with monopodial growth, with thick branches and scaly red-gray bark. Its leaves are needle-like, stiff, thorny and 2 to 3 cm long, inserted completely in a radial pattern on the branch. It is a monoecious plant with male flowers in small apical reddish strobile and green female flowers, first erect then pendulous and brownish-yellowish (8 cm long). The scales are broad at the base and then narrow towards the middle to end in a narrow apex. The flowering period is around May.
Of this species there are some varieties: we mention Picea pungens var. Koster, Picea pungens var. Fat Albert, Picea pungens var. Hoopsii and Picea pungens var. Glauca Globosa.

Cultivation –
The Picea pungens trees are grown, especially for ornamental purposes. These are plants that prefer fresh, humid or swampy soils and adapt to arid conditions; they are also plants that are very resistant to air pollution. They do not fear cold and can withstand very cold temperatures without problems; if cultivated, however, in torrid and dry climates it is more probable that they have a stunted development, in fact they fear the very prolonged drought for which it is advisable to irrigate especially the young specimens during the summer months.

Uses and Traditions –
The Picea pungens is a plant used either for reforestation of the areas of its origin or even as an ornamental plant, given that many park cultivars have been selected, as well as smaller ones.
Native to the West of the United States of America, we find it in the Rocky Mountains where it survives at a height of 2,000-3,300 m, even if it is shaken by winding winds, with glacial winters and hot and humid summers.
It was introduced in 1862 in Europe and is rarely planted as an ornamental tree; To reduce the loss of water its needles have a waxy coating that gives it their unmistakable blue-gray color, that is glaucous.

Preparation Mode –
The Colorado Spruce is exclusively used for reforestation purposes or, to a lesser extent, also as a plant for ornamental purposes. There are no known uses or preparations with parts of this plant for other purposes.

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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