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Common Name

Dwarf Norway spruce

Scientific Name

  Picea abies (Linnaeus) Karsten  ‘Maxwellii’ (Pinaceae, Pinales)

Inventory Numbers: 658

Dwarf Norway spruce (Picea abies Maxwellii) is a low-growing, dwarf form. It has a compact, flattened globe habit . Short, stiff branches hold long, blue-green needles. Monoecious (separate male and female fruiting structures on the same plant.) Female cones are cylindrical and mature to a light brown. Important timber producing tree; wood used for construction and musical instrument production. Also used for Christmas tree in Europe. Introduced to Britain around 1500. In forest conditions this tree is shade tolerant and can exist for years in close proximity.

Specimen Provenance:

Common name: Dwarf Norway Spruce

Species Origin: This cultivar arose from a “witches’ broom”

New Jersey Status: USDA cultivar not listed

Habit: This cultivar is a low-growing, dwarf form with a compact flattened globe habit, growing to 2.5’ tall. It has short, stiff branches with ½” long blue –green needles. Like the type specimen it is monoecious. The cultivar originated as a seedling selected around 1860 by T.C.Brothers Nursery, Geneva, New York USA

Habitat: Zones 3 – 7.

[the underlying description is that of the type specimen for this cultivar]

Trunk/Stem: Red brown to gray fine scaly crusts.

Leaves: Evergreen, needle-like. Needles slender, rigid, ¾” long, four-sided with a sharp point at the tip, dark green smooth with white stripes; attached to tan, smooth brown shoots. Its horizontal branch develop in time an up swept appearance. Needle clad branch also hang like drapery from larger branches. The needles have a camphor-like scent when crushed.

Flowers: Monoecious. Male flowers opening yellowish-golden and cluster at the shoot tips; female flowers purple-red are often positioned higher up on the tree. Both upright clusters separately on the same plant in spring. Male flower sheds after releasing pollen.

Fruits and seeds: A cylindrical brown hanging cone, 6” long made of fine scales with cut-off or toothed tip. Mature cone is tapering and curved.