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A tree up to 130 ft high in the wild; young shoots reddish, densely downy in the grooves; buds ovoid, resinous, brown, the terminal ones with a ring of subulate scales at the base. Leaves arranged as in the common spruce, 1⁄4 to 5⁄8 in. long, quadrangular, dark green on the exposed side, whitish on the ventral side. Cones oblong, 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 in. long, dark or bluish when young, changing to brown; scales broadly rounded, entire or more or less erose. Bot. Mag., t. 9020.
Native of the northern island of Japan (Hokkaido) and of S. Sakhalin; discovered by Glehn in 1861. Maries collected specimens in 1877 during his expedition for Messrs Veitch, but it was apparently not introduced to Britain until some twenty years later. It is rare in Britain and of no great ornamental value. There are four trees at Murthly Castle, Perths., pl. 1897, the largest 69 × 41⁄4 ft (1970). The material portrayed in the Botanical Magazine came from Headfort in Co. Meath, Eire, where there are two trees received from Veitch’s Coombe Wood nursery in 1912. The larger of these measures 57 × 7 ft (1966).
specimens: Eastnor Castle, Heref., 70 × 5 ft (1984); Bodnant, Gwyn., 66 × 5 ft (1981); Murthly Castle, Perths., pl. 1897, 78 × 5 ft (1981).