An Eco-sustainable World
ArborealSpecies Plant

Picea alcoquiana

Picea alcoquiana

The Alcock fir (Picea alcoquiana (H.J. Veitch ex Lindl.) Carrière, 1867) is an arboreal species belonging to the Pinaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota Domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Pinophyta Division,
Pinopsida class,
Order Pinales,
Pinaceae family,
Genus Picea,
P. alcoquiana species.
Basionimo is the term:
– Abies alcoquiana Veitch ex Lindl ..
The terms are synonymous:
– Abies bicolor Maxim. 1866;
– Picea acicularis Maxim. ex Beissn. 1891;
– Picea alcockiana Carrière;
– Pinus alcoquiana (Veitch ex Lindl.) Parl. in Candolle 1868;
– Pinus bicolor (Maxim.) Parl. in Candolle 1868;
– Picea bicolor (Maxim.) Mayr 1890.
– Picea bicolor (Maxim.) Mayr var. acicularis (Maxim. ex Beissn.) Shirasawa 1913;
– Picea bicolor (Maxim.) Mayr var. reflexa Shirasawa 1913 (Farjon 1998),
– Picea japonica Regel 1865;
– Picea shirasawae Hayashi 1969.
The following varieties are recognized within this species:
– Picea alcoquiana var. acicularis (Maxim. ex Beissn.) Fitschen;
– Picea alcoquiana var. alcoquiana;
– Picea alcoquiana var. reflexa (Shiras.) Fitschen.

Etymology –
The term picea is the Latin name of the wild pine in Virgil and Pliny.
The specific Alcoquian epithet was assigned by John Gould Veitch in honor of Rutherford Alcock, then in office English ambassador to Japan, who accompanied him in the ascent of Fuji, during which the species was collected for the first time.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The Alcock fir is a conifer native to the central area of ​​the island of Honshū, in Japan.
Its habitat is that of altitudes from 700 to 2180 m of altitude, where it prefers volcanic and podzolic soils; the reference climate is cool and humid, with annual rainfall between 1000 and 2500 mm, characterized by cold and snowy winters. It grows in mixed coniferous forests at high altitudes, in association with Picea jezoensis hondoensis, Tsuga diversifolia, Larix kaempferi, Pinus parviflora, Abies veitchii and Abies mariesii; at lower altitudes even with deciduous trees such as Betula ermanii, Betula grossa, Sorbus commixta, Quercus mongolica var. grosseserrata, Alnus hirsuta var. sibirica and Prunus maximowiczii.

Description –
Picea alcoquiana is a conifer that grows up to 30 m.
The trunk is straight and can reach 1 m in diameter, from which long and slender branches branch off; the shoots are slender, smooth, red-brown in color, with small pulvins 0.5-0.6 mm long, diverging by 50 ° -80 ° from their axis.
The bark, which peels off in flakes at a young age, is brown-purple in color, then gray-brown and cracked at a mature age.
The leaves are needle-like, of an intense green color, 10-15 mm long, leathery, linear, quadrangular, with very acute points in the young specimens, slightly acute in the mature ones; they have stomata on both sides (arranged in 3-6 lines on the upper one, 1-3 lines on the lower one). The vegetative buds are resinous, 3-5 mm long, with triangular, brown, persistent pearls.
The male strobili that bloom in May-June, are initially red, then yellow, 1-1.5 cm long, with numerous stamens.
The female cones are oblong-cylindrical in shape, hanging, with short peduncle, 7-9 cm long and 3 cm broad, initially red-purple, then red-brown when ripe, in October. The macrosporophylls are slightly woody, orbicular-ovate, strangled at the top, wedged at the base and 13-16 mm long. The bracts are very small, acute and obovate, 3-4 mm long. The seeds, blackish brown, are oblong-obovate, 4 mm long, with a brown winged part, 10 mm long.
The acicularis variety is distinguished by having strongly curved leaves, 1.3-2.5 cm long and 6-15 cm long cones with narrow apex. It is somewhat intermediate between the type variety and the Picea koyamae, with which it grows.
The reflex variety is distinguished by having shorter leaves and smaller cones (4-7.5 cm in length) with whole, apically narrowed and reflected seed scales.

Cultivation –
Picea alcoquiana is a conifer found on the Pacific Ocean side of Honshū in the subalpine forests.
In this area, the climate is cool, with snowy winters and annual rainfall of 1000-2500 m. The soils are volcanic and typically grows in mixed coniferous forests as seen in regards to its habitat.
This plant withstands a minimum temperature between -28.8 ° C and -23.3 ° C.
Reproduction occurs by seed.

Customs and Traditions –
Picea alcoquiana is known by various names including, in various languages: マ ツ ハ ダ, Iramomi, Matsuhada, in Japanese, Alcock fir, in English, pícea de Alcock, in Spanish,
The reflexa variety is called Shirane-matsuhada, in Japanese.
This conifer is of great economic importance, however, like other species of Japanese spruce, its wood is used in the paper industry and for the manufacture of musical instruments, even outside of Japan.
The species was introduced in Europe and America but in any case confined to vegetable gardens and botanical gardens, often known by the synonym P. bicolor.
From the ecological point of view, the exploitation of its wood, with consequent deforestation, was and remains the greatest risk for the species, with a slow decline of the population; for this reason it is classified as a species close to threat in the IUCN Red List.

Preparation Method –
Picea alcoquiana is a conifer that has no food or medicinal importance while it has been and still is excessively exploited for its timber, relative to its range.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.
Photo source:

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

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