Varieties 2 (1 in the flora): North America, Mexico.
FNA 1993, Martin and Hutchins 1980, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Common Name: Engelmann spruce Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Tree General: Trees reaching 30 m tall, with a trunk to about 1 m in diameter, the crown narrowly conic and spirelike; bark gray to reddish brown and thin with loosely attached scales. Needles: Solitary, linear and distinctly 4-angled in cross-section, flexible with sharp tips, 1.5-3 cm long, slightly appressed to curving upward, attaching to the twig in a peg-like base, leaving a distinct scar, distinctly bluish green. Cones: Pendulous from upper branches of tree, light brown and oblong-ovoid, sessile to short-stalked, 3-7 cm long, scales diamond-shaped to elliptic, widest above middle, paper thin and flexible with an entire to erose margin. Seeds: Two winged seeds borne in the axil of each fruiting scale. Ecology: Found in moist montane areas from 8,000-11,500 ft (2438-3505 m). Notes: Distinct with its spirelike crown, along with its reddish scaly and thin bark. The needles are distinctly 4-angled and flexible and are spiky at the apex. One way to distinguish this species from Abies is the following mnemonic: firs are friendly, while spruces are spiky. Ethnobotany: Used ceremonially, for coughs and respiratory infections including tuberculosis, the pitch was used as a salve, drunk as a tea, lumber, bedding, for cordage and basketry, canoes, toys and games, and as a good luck charm. Etymology: Picea comes from the Latin picea for pitch-pine, or from picis, pitch, while engelmannii is named for George Engelmann (1809-1884), an American botanist and collector. Synonyms: There are a couple for the varieties thought to be in the region, see Tropicos Editor: SBuckley, 2010