Picea likiangensis var. purpurea / Purplecone Spruce

(Jacobson):

P. likiangensis var. purpurea
= P. purpurea.

From W China and E Tibet. Uncommon. Needles 1/3" - 5/8" long, dark green above, pale gray-green beneath. Twigs hairy. Cones 1 1/4" - 2 1/4" (3") long, purple when young. Apex of tree notably narrow with ascending branches. Records: 85' x 5'0" Westonbirt, Gloucestershite, England (1988; planted 1931). Many experts believe this should rank as a separate species, and if so, the variety "balfouriana" ought to be placed in subordination to it.

Picea likiangensis var. purpurea Photographed on the grounds of The US National Arboretum during May 2006; Washington, D.C.
Photo by Dax Herbst
Picea likiangensis var. purpurea Photographed on the grounds of The US National Arboretum during May 2006; Washington, D.C.
Photo by Dax Herbst

Comments

David Slifkin

At the risk of having one of my old professors claim I'm stepping into a lumper vs splitter argument...Is Picea purpurea a separate species from Picea likiangensis? I planted a seedling of P. likiangensis on campus here and was just donated a specimen labeled Picea purpurea that i thought to plant nearby...for comparison and study. Now I wonder how to label P. purpurea?

David Olszyk

Hi David, as far as the ACS is concerned, the correct name is Picea likiangensis var. purpurea, as you see here. No such thing as a stand-alone P. purpurea. You're definitely playing the lumper/splitter game.

David Slifkin

David...so if I planted seed listed as Picea likiangensis, do you think that it probably is the species as such? Or is everything P.likiangensis var. purpurea? The seed seedling looks different than the potted version I have.

David Olszyk

I see no reason not to go with what's on the label. Technically, calling any of the 6 varieties of P. likiangenesis as such isn't wrong, but if you're specifically trying ID P. likiangensis var likiangensis, you need to be precise. Taxonomy can be tricky like that.