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Picea likiangensis var. rubescens

Picea likiangensis var. rubescens
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Product Information

Scientific name: Picea likiangensis var. rubescens  Rehder & E.H.Wilson  1914

Synonyms: Picea balfouriana Rehder & E.H.Wilson, Picea likiangensis var. balfouriana (Rehder & E.H.Wilson) Hillier, Picea purpurea var. balfouriana (Rehder & E.H.Wilson) Silba, Picea sikangensis W.C.Cheng, Tsuga balfouriana (Rehder & E.H.Wilson) W.R.McNab

Common names: Balfour spruce (English), Chuan xi yun shan (Chinese)



Tree to 50 m tall, with trunk to 2.5 m in diameter. Bark gray with orange-brown patches soon breaking up into irregular blocks separated by deep vertical furrows. Crown conical, with long, thin, upswept branches bearing short side branches all around. New branchlets pale brownish yellow, new shoots stout, densely hairy, the hairs sometimes glandular. Buds 4-6 mm long, resinous. Needles dark green on sides without stomatal lines, bluish green with wax when stomatal lines are present, 0.6-1.5 cm long, curved forward, square or somewhat flattened, with four to seven lines of stomates on the two inner faces and none to four lines on the outer ones, sharp to blunt. Pollen cones 20-25 mm long red. Seed cones 4-9 cm long, yellowish green or reddish green to dark purple before ripening. Seed scales variably shovel-shaped, with a toothed tip, thin and flexible. Seed body 2-4 mm long, the wing 5-10 mm longer.

China: S Qinghai, W Sichuan, SE Xizang (Tibet); 3,000-4,100 m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable

In the absence of accurate range data, this taxon is listed as Vulnerable under criterion A2cd, based on an inferred reduction of >30 % over the past three generations (75 years) due to the impacts of logging and reduced regeneration.

Current trends are unknown. A subalpine spruce that occurs with many other conifers. The reduction caused by logging in the past has left many mountain slopes formerly covered in forest open to grazing by cattle, reducing the possibilities of forest regeneration.

Likiang spruce is a timber tree used for construction, machines, poles, furniture, and wood pulp for the paper industry. The bark is used to produce tannin, resin is tapped or distilled from the wood, and the needles produce aromatic oils. In Europe and North America this species and its varieties can be found growing in arboreta and botanic gardens, as well as in large private gardens with tree collections. The correct naming to variety of these trees is often problematic.

The Government of China has recently imposed a logging ban in western China.



  • Farjon, A. (2010). A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.
  • Eckenwalder, J.E. (2009) Conifers of the World: The Complete Reference. Timber Press, Portland.
  • IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Cambridge, UK /Gland, Switzerland

Copyright © Aljos Farjon, James E. Eckenwalder, IUCN, Conifers Garden. All rights reserved.

Product CodePICLPBMX81
Weight1.5 kg
Height30 - 40 cm

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