Picea rubens 'Hexenbesen'

Picea rubens 'Hexenbesen' is an attractive, globe-shaped, regular growing selection of Red Spruce. The needles are a pleasing bright green arranged consistantly along upward facing branchlets. Annual expected growth is around 1-2 inches, producing a ball, 2-3 feet around after 10 years. 'Hexenbesen' makes a nice accent plant to the mixed conifer border wherever the plan calls for a round, globose plant.

Uwe Horstmann of Schneverdingen Germany found the witch's broom from which this cultivar was propagated while traveling through the Eastern United States for the purpose of hunting witch's brooms on American trees. It's interesting to note that all original propagations of this plant were done in Germany and it wasn't until recently that "Hexenbesen' had been repatriated to the U.S. Larry Stanley of Stanley & Sons Nursery, Boring, Oregon was responsible for the American reintroduction around 2009.

Hexenbesen is German for witch's broom. Other names by which this plant is known include, H.B. and Hexe, all of which are variations on the correct name. It is also interesting to note that Uwe Horstmann and his father, Günter were pioneers of the hobby of "broom hunting." Their thought in the beginning was that witch's brooms were so rare in nature that it would be sufficient to name any new cultivar derived from a witch's broom, 'Hexenbesen.' Needless to say, this created a lot of confusion in the trade that to this day is still being sorted out.

Picea rubens 'Hexenbesen' at Hobbiton Gardens, Port Orchard, WA
Photo by Will Fletcher

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