Picea abies 'Nidiformis' / Bird's Nest spruce

Picea abies 'Nidiformis' is a very well-known "nesting" form of Norway spruce. It grows as a flat-topped, spreading shrub with dense, horizontal layers of branches, becoming much wider than tall with age. Foliage is a refreshing, light-green color. Don Howse of Porterhowse Farms adds that the nest in the center may disappear with age. After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 18 inches (45 cm) tall and 4.5 feet (1.5 m) wide, an annual growth rate of 3 to 6 inches (7.5 - 15 cm).

Bird's Nest spruce is a very old cultivar, known in the nursery trade since the early 1900s. Rulemann Grisson Nursery of Sasselheide Germany is credited with its introduction. German botanist and dendrologist, Ludwig Bessner first described and named it in his 1903 text - Handbook of hardwood designation, etc. (with Ernst Schelle and Hermann Zabel).

Picea abies 'Nidiformis' in the Harper Collection at Hidden Lake Gardens, Tipton, Michigan. This picture was taken in 2000 during an ACS tour.This plant was about 27 years at the time.
Photo by Ken Church
Picea abies 'Nidiformis' part of a grouping of dwarf conifers in an arboretum setting.
Photo by Sandra McLean Cutler
Picea abies 'Nidiformis' in the Harper Collection of Dwarf & Rare Conifers at Hidden Lake Gardens, Tipton, Michigan, August 2005.
Photo by Dax Herbst
Picea abies 'Nidiformis' in a private garden in Kansas, October 2006.
Photo by David Stegmaier


Daniel Schiefen


I love the taste of spruce tips! Looking to cook with them, make beer etc. Are the tips of the Bird's Nest Spruce safe to eat? What other Spruce tips are good/safe to eat?

Thanks for any info!

Phyllis Cheskin

Red Mites have hit my bird's nest spruce. How do you treat this?

Michael Feist

I have this beautiful spruce that looks like a Bird's Nest Spruce but I don't think it is one. Any ideas?