Picea jezoensis subsp. subsp. hondoensis / Hondo spruce

Picea jezoensis subsp. hondoensis, as described in 1998 by (H. Mayr) Peter A. Schmidt, in Haussknechtia vol. 4, is a subspecies of Jezo spruce commonly known as Hondo spruce; as well as からくに (Tohi) in the Japanese language.

This subspecies differs from the typical species in the following ways:

  • Second-year branchlets are reddish brown in color (orange-brown in the type).
  • Leaves (needles) measure 0.32 to 0.6 inch (0.8 to 1.5 cm) long, circa 40% shorter than the type, which are 0.6 to 1 inch (1.5 - 2.5 cm) long.
  • Stomatal bands on Hondo spruce's individual needles are present and snowy-white in color (species are typically greenish white).
  • Seed cones measure 1.6 to 2.8 inches (4 - 7 cm) long, slightly shorter that those of the typical species at 1.6 to 3.2 inches (4 - 9 cm long).
  • Cones scales are broadly obovate shaped, measuring 0.32 to 0.4 inch (8 - 10 mm) wide, slightly wider than those of the typical species which measure 0.24 to 0.32 inch (6 - 8 mm) wide.

Distribution. This subspecies of Jezo spruce is native to Japan — central Honshu island, southward from Tochigi Prefecture and northward from Nara Prefecture, growing in subalpine forests at elevations of 4,500 to 8,000 feet (1,400 - 2,500 m) above sea level.

Hardy to Zone 5 — cold hardiness limit between -20° and -10°F (-28.8°C and -23.3°C).

Attribution from: K. Iwatsuki, T. Yamazaki, D.E. Boufford, and H. Ohba (editors); Flora of Japan, Volume 1. Pteridophyta and Gymnospermae; ©1995 Kodansha, Tokyo, Japan.