Picea abies 'Pyramidata' / Pyramidal Norway spruce

Picea abies 'Pyramidata' is used as a collective term that describes the myriad upright, narrowly conical selections of Norway spruce with fastigiate branching that exist in the international nursery trade. Such plants have been well-known and popular throughout history and no individual clone can be identified as the origin of them all. At some point taxonomists will formally assign these trees under a “form-status,” i.e. Picea abies forma pyramidata. However this has not yet happened. Below are notes from growers and botanical writers.

  • In 1853, Father Armand David formally described it as Abies excelsa pyramidata in Rev. Hort.
  • In 1885, Élie-Abel Carrière described it as Picea excelsa pyramidata in Traité Général des Conifères.
  • In 1919, Alfred Rehder described it as Picea abies forma pyramidata in Journal of the Arnold Arboretum. By this point it had become quite clear that there were a number of similar and unrecognizable clones in the trade.
  • Finally, in 1993 Humphrey Welch dismissed the name, claiming that, "there is no certainty of the authenticity of the name for plants being offered today."
Picea abies 'Pyramidata' at Dawes Arboretum, Newark, Ohio.
Photo by Dawes Arb. website

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