Picea abies 'Saint James' / Saint James Norway spruce

Picea abies 'Saint James' is a very slow-growing, bun-shaped, miniature selection of Norway spruce with upright shoots, yellowish green foliage and distinctive red buds in winter. D.M. van Gelderen states in, Conifers The Illustrated Encyclopedia, "it's structure is superficially similar to P. abies 'Maxwellii' and its allies." After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 8 inches (20 cm) tall and 12 inches (30 cm) wide, an annual growth rate of 1 inch (2.5 cm) or less.

This cultivar originated presumably as a witch's broom found in the mid-1960s by Joel W. Spingarn of Baldwin, New York and introduced to the nursery trade by Johnson Rare Plants of Sayville. On occasion, one will find a dwarf Norway spruce listed with the cultivar name, 'St. James,' which is almost certainly an abbreviated form of the same plant.

Picea abies 'Saint James' seen in 2000 during the ACS tour of the Harper Collection at Hidden Lake Gardens in Tipton, Michigan.
Photo by Ken Church
Picea abies 'Saint James' in the Harper Collection of Dwarf & Rare Conifers at Hidden Lake Gardens, Tipton, Michigan, August 2005.
Photo by Dax Herbst
Picea abies 'Saint James'— a closeup of foliage detail.
Photo by Bill Barger