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Tigertail Spruce (Picea polita or Picea torano)

Tigertail Spruce A good example of a Tigertail Spruce is found in the Arboretum's Dwarf and Unusual Conifer Collection. It is endemic (restricted in distribution) to Japan. Branches of young trees are horizontal, but its common name comes from the pendulous branches of older trees that are said to resemble tiger tails. The stiff, green, sharp-tipped needles are borne on short woody, peg-like structures called pulvini. In winter Tigertail Spruce has conspicuous reddish buds at the end of its branches. Restrictions on importing Tigertail Spruce, Western Hemlock, and other conifers have been developed by Canada and several states to prevent further introduction of the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, which has been devastating Eastern Hemlock forests.

Tigertail Spruce Cones The distinctive cones hang down, a characteristic that helps differentiate spruces from firs (Abies spp.) which have erect cones. The grayish-brown bark of Tigertail Spruce becomes deeply fissured in older trees. In Japan, this species has been used for lumber, paper pulp and ornamental purposes.

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University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
901 South Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830 · Telephone: 865-483-3571 · Email: UTforest@utk.edu