Picea abies 'R.E.L. Broom' / R.E.L. Norway spruce

Picea abies 'R.E.L. Broom' is a uniquely peculiar selection of Norway spruce with irregular clumpy branches with dark-green needles that taper to a point at the branch tips, a "foxtail" effect. After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 12 - 18 inches (30 - 45 cm) tall and wide. Young plants are irregular globose shaped. Later, as plants grow older, apical dominance will establish and they will appear more sculpted and conical.

'R.E.L.' is the monogram of Robert E. Lipka, a nurseryman and conifer enthusiast from Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. The cultivar originated as a witch's broom that he found in the 1980s. The name is somewhat disputed with variations such as 'R.E.L.' and 'R.E.L. Foxtail' seen in the trade. They are certainly all the same plant.

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Picea abies 'R.E.L. Broom' — Green Industry Images, copyrighted photograph.
Photo by Ernie Wiegand
Picea abies 'R.E.L. Broom' — a closeup of foliage detail in spring.
Photo by Bill Barger
Picea abies 'R.E.L. Broom' a very old and interesting specimen in an arboretum setting.
Photo by Bill Barger
Picea abies 'R.E.L. Broom' — a closeup of foliage detail in late summer.
Photo by Bill Barger
This specimen of 'R.E.L. Broom' at Flora Wonder arboretum in Gaston, Oregon has retained more of a globose form that is typical of younger plants.
Photo by David Olszyk

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