Picea engelmanni 'Hexenbesen Jasper' is a small, irregular-squatty selection of Engelmann spruce with rich, Blue-green needles that are of a softer touch than those of the closely-related Picea pungens. Typical rate of growth in most areas is 1.5 to 2.5 inches (4 - 6 cm) per year resulting in a 2 foot tall and wide (60 x 60 cm) specimen after 10 years in the landscape.
This cultivar originated as a witch's broom found in the late 1980s by Günter Horstmann, Schneverdingen, Germany. He found the original broom growing on a species tree in Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada and after successful propagation, introduced it to the nursery trade in 1992. A specimen of 'Hexenbesen Jasper' would be a wonderful addition to an Alpine Garden or rockery.
It should be noted that in the U.S., this plant is most often seen sold as Picea engelmannii 'Jasper.' In addition this cultivar should not be confused with Picea engelmannii 'Jasper Lake,' which is an entirely different witch's broom cultivar which was introduced by Jörg Kohout.
A nice specimen of Picea engelmannii 'Hexenbesen Jasper' at Glacier's End Arboretum, Olympia, WA. This plant was approximately 5 years old in 2013 and measures 8 inches tall by 10 inches wide.
Photo by David Olszyk