Picea asperatavar.aurantiaca, as described in 1906 by Maxwell Tylden Masters (1833–1907), finalized by Boudewijn Karel Boom (1903–1980), in Manual of 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.