Picea abies 'Clanbrassiliana' / Clanbrassil Norway spruce

Picea abies 'Clanbrassiliana' is a dwarf form of Norway spruce with a more-or-less "beehive"-shaped growth habit. Old plants are seldom over 4.5 feet (1.5 m) tall with an annual growth rate of about 0.8 to 2 inches (2 - 5 cm). The original plant is about 10 feet (3 m) high and 180 years old! Its branches are thin and flexible, light gray-brown above, cream-white to greenish-white beneath, glossy, and glabrous.

'Clanbrassiliana' is the very first named dwarf conifer and for that reason alone it is a very important cultivar for the collector. The original plant was found around 1780 on the Moira Estate, near Belfast, Northern Ireland. Lord Clanbrassil brought it to his country residence in Tollymore, Country Down where to this day the mother plant still flourishes. Around 1820, the Loddiges Nursery of Hackney, Great Britain introduced it to the nursery trade.

This picture was taken in 2000 during the ACS tour of the Harper Collection at Hidden Lake Gardens in Michigan.
Photo by Ken Church
Picea abies 'Clanbrassiliana'
Photo by David Marsh
Picea abies 'Clanbrassiliana' in the Harper Collection of Dwarf & Rare Conifers, Hidden Lake Gardens, Tipton, Michigan, August 2005.
Photo by Dax Herbst


Charlie Pancerzewski

I purchased one of these trees in 1998 and it was estimated by the nursery owner to be 60 years old. He had owned it for about 20 years and was reluctant to sell it but needed money so and knew we had a garden with many specimen trees so it would have a good home. It still flurishes in our landscape and no landscape or nursery gardeners know what it is. It is about 4 1/2 feet tall and about that wide. I have not seen another one except in photos.

Maxwell Cohn

Charlie, I'd love to see a picture of your plant. Sounds pretty special.