The Serbian Spruce, distinguished by its tapering form and needle-like leaves, is a species of medium-sized coniferous tree found in the mountainous regions along the Drina River valley of eastern Bosnia and western Serbia at an elevation of 2,625-5,249 ft. It has dark foliage with blue-green undersides, and its buff-brown shoots are quite hairy.
This tree was first spotted close to the Serbian village of Zaovine in 1875 by a botanist Josif Pančić, who is also credited with naming the Serbian Spruce.
|Scientific Name||Picea omorika|
|Size||Commonly grows to a height of 66ft (20m), but occasionally reaches up to 131ft (40m); straight tree trunk with a diameter of about 3ft (1m); adult trees have a spread of about 2.5-4m|
|Leaves||Flat and pointy leaves, 10-20mm long; bluish-green above but bluish-white below|
|Fruits (Cones)||Spindle-shaped, 4-7cm long; young cones are dark purple in color while the maturing ones have stiff scales and dark brown coloration|
|Shape at Maturity||Narrow-pyramidal at the crown|
|Distribution/Range||On the Viogor, Zvijezda, Tara, Jadovnik, and Radomišlja mountains around the Drina River in Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Lifespan||Over 60 years|
|Growth Rate||Slow to medium; annual height increase is 12-24 in|
|Growing Conditions||Winter Conditions: More tolerant to frost than the Sitka and Norway spruce, some resistance to wet snow
Summer Conditions: Hot and slightly dry
Rain: Over 650 mm annual precipitation
Sunlight: Tolerates both direct sunlight and partial shade; needs at least 4 hours of unfiltered sunlight daily
Soil Requirements: Sandy, acidic, clay, alkaline, moist, well-drained, loamy
|Diseases and Pests||Rust diseases and needle cast may affect the spruce causing their needles to turn brown or mottled yellow; sawfly larvae, spider mites, spruce needle miner, and spruce budworm larvae may infest the branches, needles, and young buds; the white pine weevil can disfigure a spruce tree if left uncontrolled|
|Wildlife Value||Not an important wildlife food source due to its limited range; small animals including deer and rabbits, as also birds, use it as a protective shelter|
|Cultivars||Pendula (weeping form) and Nana (dwarf form) are the most widely used varieties in gardening and landscaping|
|Uses||As ornamental trees for decorative purposes; planted in groups for landscape design projects and specimen display; for timber and production of paper; ideal as Christmas tree; also crossed with the Sitka and Black spruce to produce hybrid species|
|IUCN Conservation Status||Endangered|
- The genus name Picea has been derived from pix, a Latin word meaning “pitch”, while the scientific name omorika is the Serbian word for “Serbian spruce”. The genus name refers to the resin found in the tree bark.
- These trees were distributed over a much larger area in Europe before the ice ages of Pleistocene epoch.
- The Serbian Spruce shows great tolerance to air pollution.