Picea and Abies: differences and characteristics of two beautiful conifer
Spruce (Picea) and fir (Abies)
The difference between these two groups is seemingly difficult, but there are elements that you can immediately see whether you have a spruce (Picea) or a fir (Abies) faces.
The branches of spruce feel rough because the leaf pads sit as the old needles fall off. At firs the branches are much smoother.
As a young spruce needle is pulled to tear a piece of leaf cushion loose. There is a white flake at the base of the needle. If you do the same with a silver fir, occurs only a nice round scar.
At firs the cones stand upright, hanging with the older pine cones.
Silver firs (Abies) have about fifty species. Most have silver “stripes” stomata on the underside of the needles. The “normal” silver fir (Abies alba) is a known forest tree from central Europe. For the garden, the small A. “Pyramidalis” and the weeping form A. ‘Pendula’ fit.
Spruce (Picea) are often particularly beautiful trees with hundreds of growers for garden cultivars have derived, from giants to dwarfs, in all shapes and colors, with beautiful and often colorful cones (male) flowers. Sparring many dwarf forms completed. Some are famous: P abies’ procumbens’, ‘Nana’, ‘Nidiformis’,’ Pumila ‘and’ pygmaea, P. glauca ‘Conica’, P. mariana ‘Nana’. Also, some used as bonsai, or are suitable for a pot on the balcony or terrace, Picea abies’ Little Gem Picea glauca ‘Echiniformis’ and’ Alberta Globe ‘Picea mariana’ Nana ‘.
Hemlock Tsuga’s form or a small family. They are closely related to the spruce. Especially the Canadian hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) has yielded many beautiful cultivars such as ‘Jeddeloh’, ‘Fantana’ and ‘Greenwood Lake’. The species is so special because the needles of the upper branches are often twisted silver and its base.