Picea asperata var. aurantiaca / Orange spruce

Picea asperata var. aurantiaca, as described in 1965 by Maxwell Tylden Masters (1833–1907), finalized by Boudewijn Karel Boom (1903–1980), in Manual or Cultivated Conifers, 10th edition, by Den Ouden & Boom, is commonly known as Orange spruce; as well as 白皮云杉 (bai pi yun shan) in the Chinese language.

Notable traits that have a bearing on differentiating it from other specific varieties of Dragon spruce include:

  • Branchlets are smooth and waxy with distinctive orange color.
  • Needles are waxy and prickly.
  • Cone scale edges are smooth, or minutely toothed with a rhombic outline.
Distribution. This variety is native to China — western Sichuan province (Kangding Xian), growing in the mountains at elevations of 8,500 to 11,800 feet (2,600 - 3,600 m) above sea level, where it is considered an endangered plant.

Attribution from: James E. Eckenwalder; Conifers of the World: The Complete Reference; ©2009, Timber Press, Portland, OR.

Picea asperata var. aurantiaca — a young specimen at Dawes Arboretum, Newark, Ohio.
Photo by Bill Barger
Picea asperata var. aurantiaca — a closeup of foliage detail.
Photo by Bill Barger

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