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Picea pungens 'Pendula'

(Weeping Colorado spruce)

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Picea pungens ‘Pendula’ is broadly spreading selection of Colorado spruce with lax, strictly weeping lateral branching. If not staked, this conifer rambles along the ground. The branches just hang limply down creating a pole like appearance with the bottom branches creeping across the ground. It is a robust growing plant, with terminal buds extending 1 foot (30 cm) or more on a yearly basis. Ultimate height is determined by the height of the stake used to support the young plant. Needles are bright blue that fade to dark green in their second year. Internal and shaded foliage is also more green than blue in color.

‘Pendula’ is a very old cultivar in the international nursery trade, having been described in botanical literature in the 1920s by Fritz Kurt Alexander von Schwerin in Mitteilungen Deutscher Dendrologie. It is almost certain that the plant that von Schwerin described is no long alive and that its propagants cannot be traced with certainty from any original plant. With that, ‘Pendula’ is probably no longer appropriate for use as a cultivar name in this species and would be best if were relegated to “forma status,” i.e. Picea pungens f. pendula.

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