Picea omorika 'Elisabeth' / Elisabeth Serbian spruce

Picea omorika 'Elisabeth' is a narrow, upright pyramidal selection of Serbian spruce with dense branching and short, shimmering silvery Blue-green needles. Young plants will be somewhat amorphous for their first few years until apical dominance establishes. From that point, plants will become tidier and conical. After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 5 feet (1.5 m) tall and 2 feet (60 cm) wide, an annual growth rate of 4 to 6 inches (10 - 15 cm).

This cultivar originated as a witch's broom found in the late 1970s by Günther Horstmann and introduced to the nursery trade by his family's nursery in Schneverdingen, Germany. It was named in honor of Elisabeth Horstmann, Günther's wife. This conifer provisionally named [HB no. 3 Horstmann], but was changed at some point. It is notable that Horstmann nursery named many of their introductions with the name 'Hexenbesen' or some permutation thereof. In addition, this conifer is also often seen listed under the Anglicized name, 'Elizabeth,' a name that doesn't commonly exist in Germany.

Picea omorika 'Elisabeth' — a well grown, mature specimen at the former grounds of Coenosium Gardens, Eatonville, Washington.
Photo by Will Fletcher