Picea engelmannii 'Hobo' / Hobo Engelmann spruce

Picea engelmannii 'Hobo' #57 is a miniature-to-dwarf irregular-globose selection of Engelmann spruce with short, radiating branches and longer-than-typical, fluffy, steely-Blue needles. After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 20 inches (50 cm) tall and wide, an annual growth rate of 1 to 2 inches (2.5 - 5 cm).

This cultivar originated as a witch's broom found in the 1990s by Colorado’s preeminent broom hunter, Jerry Morris. According to his notes, Jerry found the original broom up a 4-mile road along the route past the Limber Grove hiking area in Park County, Colorado, describing it as, "18 inches around and 10 feet up, an average witch's broom." He first designated it as [#57], meaning that this was Jerry’s 57th named Engelmann spruce selection. Nomenclature purists will list this conifer as, Picea engelmannii ‘Hobo’ #57.

Picea engelmannii 'Hobo'— a closeup of foliage detail.
Photo by Mesterhazy & Etzelstorfer, 2012
Picea engelmannii 'Hobo' in the Etzelstorfer collection in Austria.
Photo by Mesterhazy & Etzelstorfer, 2012