Serbian Spruce SeedPicea omorika
Serbian Spruce is a very adaptable spruce which quickly forms a tall slender tree with short drooping branches and dark green/grey needle leaves, with blue undersides. It is sometimes used as a Christmas Tree, but the needles are very prickly and sharp. Makes a good barrier when young and a lovely specimen tree on maturity. Dark purple cones turn brown as they ripen.
Sitka Spruce SeedPicea sitchensis
Sitka Spruce is probably one of the most important species of conifer from an economic viewpoint. It thrives on damp sites and poor soils. Used extensively for timber and pulp production, but also can be used for Christmas trees. Picture shows an enormous tree in the Benmore Botanic Gardens, near Dunoon(www.rbge.org.uk/visit/benmore-botanic-garden) and the commercial production of seedlings in seedbeds. Sitka can be used as a relaxed hedge – just chop out the leader and it will bush out to make a prickly barrier.
Stone Pine SeedPinus pinea
Stone Pine is the conifer that is exploited for its edible pine nut/seed(think Pesto and Italian Cuisine), It has a short trunk and an umbrella-like growth habit, giving mature trees a flat crown. It has attractive glaucous blue-green leaves in younger specimens and is sometimes sold as a pot grown mini Christmas tree. It is the classic flat-topped pine tree of Italy.
Western Hemlock SeedTsuga heterophylla
Western Hemlock is a large fast growing conifer with spreading branches. It produces an outstandingly beautiful single specimen tree with an elegant spire-like crown. The leaves are marked with two white bands underneath, soft and a bit like Yew but are aromatic(grapefruit or citrus) when crushed. Associated with Douglas Firs and Sitka Spruce on the Pacific coast of America, growing in the shade of other trees. Growth when young is slow, but picks up after 2 or 3 years.
Western Yellow Pine SeedPinus ponderosa
Western Yellow Pine is a large striking conifer with a scaly cinnamon bark and drooping branches. Planted as an ornamental tree in large gardens as well as for timber production in its native western North America. Needles grow in threes and even when old the crown is narrowly conical. The bark is said to smell of turpentine, but not as strongly as Pinus jeffreyii.
White Spruce SeedPicea glauca
White Spruce is a very hardy species and quite variable. Stubby needles are densely packed and on some trees are green and some blueish grey and anything in between. It has a narrowly conical growth habit when mature, with branches that ascend at the tip. In Canada it is an important timber tree for building and pulp and in Japan the wood is used for making boards for the game ‘Go’