Picea abies 'Viminalis' / Viminalis Norway spruce

Picea abies 'Viminalis' is a robust, fast-growing, upright, broadly conical selection of Norway spruce with sparse, horizontal branches, long, strictly pendulous branchlets and long, dark green needles. The branching and overall effect is quite snake-like. After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 10.5 feet (3.5 m) tall, an annual growth rate in excess of 1 foot (30 cm). A solitary specimen in a large landscape makes an impressive impact.

This cultivar orginated as a natural mutation found in 1741 growing in a forest near Stockholm, Sweden. Naturalist and student of Linnaeus, Clas Alströmer is credited with the discovery. Sparrman ex Alströmer formally described it in 1777 in Svensk Vet. Aksd Handl. vol. 38, page 310. In the Latin language, "viminalis" describes long, whip-like branching as is seen in certain willow (Salix) species.

Picea abies 'Viminalis' — a closeup of foliage detail.
Photo by Bill Barger
Picea abies 'Viminalis' — a young specimen in an arboretum setting.
Photo by Bill Barger