Arizona CypressCupressus arizonica/glabra
This species is becoming common and is increasingly planted as a hedgerow. The grey-green leaves have the aroma of grapefruit when crushed.
Arolloa / Swiss PinePinus cembra
Pinus cembra is a small slow growing tree with an almost columnar habit and purple-blue cones. The densely arranged dark blue green needles are blue-white on the inner surface and arranged in fives. It is resistant to white pine blister rust and is therefore being used to try and breed for resistance in other pines. The timber this tree produces is pale, soft and easy to work – ideal for wood turning.
Slices of the cone are used to flavour Schnapps
Atlas CedarCedrus atlantica
The Atlas Cedar is one of the most planted of the decorative conifers. Its long grey-green leaves cover the branches thickly. Branches become horizontal, but slightly drooping, with age. Useful for being heat and drought resistant. There used to be vast forests in Morocco and Algeria, but these are declining. A most famous tree is that planted in the lawn outside the White House in Washington.
Austrian PinePinus nigra austriaca
A commonly planted evergreen conifer with a dense head of large branches. The best suited of all the pines to chalky or lime rich soils.
Balsam FirAbies balsamea
Balsam Fir is a medium sized tree with long leaves and a balsam scent. The cones are a purple / violet colour when young and tend to ooze sticky resin. Primarily grown for pulp and biomass. Balsam Fir oil is extracted for room fresheners, incense, cold remedies and rodent repellent. It is extremely hardy. There are many different varieties used for ornamental purposes, some of which are dwarf/slow growing and some with different coloured foliage.
Bhutan PinePinus excelsa/wallichiana
The Bhutan Pine in an elegant, large, broad headed tree with 20cm long drooping needles arranged in fives. The banana shaped cones are up to 25cm long. Highly ornamental.
Bishop PinePinus muricata
A classic medium sized pine tree, quite fast growing, with a dense flat head of branches, related to Pinus radiata(Monterey Pine). Stiff, curved needles grow in pairs. The prickly cones can remain unopened on branches for years. Naturally grows West Coast USA, clinging to to sea cliffs, but has been trialled as a timber tree in Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. There are different forms, growing into different shapes depending on where the seed comes from – northern USA produces narrow conical shaped trees, more southerly trees tend to be domed.
Pic courtesy of Clairity at Flickr CC -BY -2.0
small pic courtesy of Paul Hami
Black SprucePicea mariana
This is a medium sized tree with dark blue green leaves which are densely packed on the upper surfaces of the branchlets. Widespread across Canada, the timber is used for pulp and cross-laminated timber but also for mass produced chop-sticks or the fast food industry!
Pic courtesy of U.S Fish and Wildlife Service , public domain
Bournemouth / Maritime PinePinus pinaster (maritima)
The Maritime Pine is a medium sized sparsely branched conifer with an orange-brown bark. It’s long robust needles grow in pairs. Cones are long and chunky and take a few years to ripen and release the winged seed. It is excellent on sandy soils and in seaside districts. Turpentine is produced from the resin and it is widely used for timber production round the Mediterranean.
Brewers Weeping SprucePicea breweriana
This is one the most beautiful of all the spruces. Graceful branchlets hang from long branches like slender tails and it produces purple cones.
Bristlecone PinePinus aristata
Pinus aristata or Bristlecone Pine is a large shrub or small characterful tree with needles in groups of 5, flecked with white resin, looking like dandruff. This is how to tell it from the other Bristlcone pine, Pinus longaeva . It has slender bristle like cones. Some specimens in the wild are over 2500yrs old, it is very slow growing! The oldest trees are found in northern New Mexico, Arizona and in the Rockies at high elevations where the conditions are cold and dry.
Californian RedwoodSequoia sempervirens
The Californian Redwood can reach over 100m tall in its native forests but mature specimens in gardens reach 30m. As well as being the worlds tallest it is also long lived with records of trees well over 2000 years old. The bark is deep and spongy and a good russet colour and resin from the tree can be used as a natural dye for wool.
Cedar of LebanonCedrus libani
Lebanese Cedar is a huge wide-spreading, flat topped conifer, whose characteristic growth habit forms a tiered arrangement. Young trees are conical but branches spread as the tree matures(no comment!) Cedar of Lebanon has many historical associations. It is the national emblem of Lebanon, and on the Lebanese flag, although there are decreasing numbers growing in the wild. King Solomon is said to have used Cedar timber to build his temple. Cones are large and oval, taking 18 months to mature and then fall to pieces. The timber is prized for furniture making, being close-grained, a good colour and aromatic. Cedar oil extract is used in cosmetics.
Chinese ArborvitaeThuja orientalis
The Tree of Life or Chinese Arborvitae is a small slow growing conifer that is often grown as an ornamental. It makes a close, even, broad conical shape. In its native China it is associated with long life and vitality – hence its name of Chinese Arborvitae or Tree of Life. It is often planted in cemeteries and graveyards in UK. Foliage fronds are made up of flat scale-like leaves which are citrus aromatic when crushed and in a hard winter turn brownish green. The timber is quite pale and easy to work, being soft.
Colorado SprucePicea pungens glauca
Colorado Blue Spruce has leaves that tend to turn green with age; so those at the base of branches are green, resulting in an attractive variation of colour down the branch. Architectural form. If grown in a pot it is good for bringing into the house as a Christmas tree for a short while(cool room preferred!).
Colorado White FirAbies concolor
This widely grown conifer has leaves up to 6cm long. It is a beautiful large tree with grey bark and long cylindrical cones.
Corkbark FirAbies lasiocarpa
Cork Bark Fir is a very ornamental conifer which is relatively rare in its native area. It has attractive densely arranged, blue-green needles. The bark on mature trees becomes deeply furrowed and corky. This tree is extremely hardy, growing near the tree-line in Arizona and New Mexico. It tolerates near alpine conditions, but is a real asset to a smaller garden since it is slow growing.
Corsican PinePinus nigra corsicana
Nigra species are especially suited as windbreaks with corsicana preferring well drained soils and it can also tolerate coastal conditions. A two needle pine, the needles often being slightly twisted
Dawn RedwoodMetasequoia glyptostroboides
The Dawn Redwood, thought of as a ‘living fossil’, is a deciduous conifer, the leaves of which turn tawny pink and old gold in autumn. It is fast growing and makes quite a narrow conical tree with a shaggy bark that falls off in ribbons. The trunk itself tends to be broad at the bottom. It is widely planted as an ornamental tree but in the wild the population is decreasing. It is protected in China, but over collection of seed from the wild has resulted in a lack of regeneration in its native areas. The first fossils of the tree were discovered in 1941, in China and were aged at 150million years old!
Deodar CedarCedrus deodara
Deodar Cedar is a large conifer with a pendulous growth habit when young. It keeps a droopy leading shoot even on mature trees. Needle-like leaves, up to 5cm long, have a bluish bloom when young. Architectural, so makes a good specimen tree. The timber is rot resistant, close grained and aromatic and therefore historically used for storage rooms and boxes, having a certain amount of anti-fungal and insect repellent properties. Deodar forests were/are thought to be sacred to the God Shiva and used as places of meditation. It is the national tree of Pakistan.
Douglas FirPseudotsuga menziesii / taxifolia
Douglas Fir is regarded as the king of the Pacific coast forests. It is a fast growing, large conifer with down swept branches in mature specimens. It is an important import to Europe for timber production, but also an ornamental tree of value. The fissured bark carries resinous blisters and the foliage also has a resinous scent.
Dunkeld LarchLarix x eurolepsis
Found in Dunkeld, Perthshire, in 1897. An intermediate between the parents (kaempferi x decidua) but with hybrid vigour. A deciduous conifer which gives good yellow autumn colour, contrasting well with other forestry trees.
New growth varies from pink to orange brown.
Dwarf Mountain PinePinus uncinata rotundata
Also known as Pinus mugo uncinata or P. mugo rotundata, some confusion exists about this Mountain Pine! Found infrequently on high wet moors and survives in frost pockets. Grows to a wide pyramid with a strong leader and is useful for large scale rock gardens.
Engelmann SprucePicea engelmannii
The most common spruce to be found in the Rockies where it grows to 30m tall. It likes deep well drained soils. Related to White Spruce (P. glauca ) and hybridizes with them, given a chance.
The timber is used for pulp and paper making but also to make the fronts of guitars where it gives a clean pale colour