Picea abies 'Van Bemmel' / Van Bemmel Norway spruce

Picea abies 'Van Bemmel' is a diminutive, slightly flatted-globose selection of Norway spruce with short dense, irregular branches and densely held dark-green needles. At times some of the tiny branchlets will grow to be no more then short stubs, resulting in an interesting and unique appearance. After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 4 - 8 inches (10 - 20 cm) tall and wide, an annual growth rate of 0.4 to 0.8 inch (1 - 2 cm).

This cultivar originated as a witch's broom found and introduced by Le Feber Nursery, Boskoop, The Netherlands. It is named in honor of the nurseryman who first found the broom. The plant is extremely rare in the nursery trade, but well-worth seeking out. It is a perfect choice for rock garden and trough plantings as it will never outgrow its confines. One may sometimes encounter this conifer labled as 'Van Bemmel's Dwarf.'

Picea abies 'Van Bemmel' — an old plant in a private conifer collection in Czech Republic.
Photo by Jiří Balatka