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Picea glehnii

Picea glehnii - Sakhalin or Glehn spruce

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Picea glehnii ©Jaakko

The alternative name for this species honours Peter von Glehn, a botanist of German-Baltic origin who worked in Russia. It has a long history at Mustila, having been among the species planted as seedlings from seed sent from Japan in 1908 by the Dane Johannes Rafn, the Arboretum’s ”court purveyor”. The stand, now over 100 years old, is still in fine condition, which can’t be said of many of the exotic spruce planted at Mustila. However, the visitor is more likely to see the Glehn spruce as a young tree, in the 1995 plantings along the Northern Slope road.

Glehn spruce is a maritime species, starting seasonal growth over 2 weeks later than the native species (Picea abies). This protects the tender new growth from late spring frosts. As an ornamental garden tree it has been almost totally forgotten, unfortunately, nor has it even been tried as a Christmas tree. The structure of its branches is beautiful, gently uplifted in the crown as with many east-Asian trees, while the short, deep green needles, which have a slightly bluish tinge, are attractively dense and bushy. The sturdy trunks are red-brown. For anyone who enjoys the beauty of conifers it is worth the slight effort involved in following the seldom-used path along the southern edge of the larch plantation to the north-east corner of the White-Cedar Valley, where the old Glehn spruce grow at the edge of the forest opening.


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