The Gymnosperm Database


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Conservation status

Picea maximowiczii

Regel ex Carrière 1867

Common names

ヒメバラモミ Hime-baramomi [Japanese], Japanese bush spruce.

Taxonomic notes

Syn.: Picea maximowiczii var. senanensis Hayashi 1960 (Iwatsuki et al. 1995).


Monoecious, evergreen tree to 30 m tall, 100 cm dbh. Bark grey-brown, fissured, peeling off in thick scales. Branchlets pale grayish brown, grooved, glabrous; pulvini short, 0.2-0.3 mm long. Leaves leathery, linear, quadrangular, 10-20 mm long, ca. 1 mm across, apex acute, deep green, with a stomatal groove on each surface; resin canals two, marginal. Flowers May to June, terminal, solitary or 2 or 3 crowded on previous year's shoots. Pollen cones cylindric, pale brown, with many stamens. Seed cones pendulous, brown when ripe (October), oblong or cylindric-oblong, 4-7 cm long, 1.5-2 cm across. Cone seed scales thinly woody, orbicular-obovate, cuneate to base, entire, 7-13 mm long and wide; bract scales very small, oblong, acute, ca. 3 mm long. Seeds grey-brown, obovate, ca. 4 mm long, 2 mm wide; wings obovate, pale brown, 6-8 mm long, 3-4 mm wide (Iwatsuki et al. 1995).

Distribution and Ecology

Japan: C Honshu (Chichibu Mountain Range, Yatsugatake Mts. and Mt. Senjogatake), at 1100-2000 m elevation (Iwatsuki et al. 1995). Also reported in montane woodland on Fuji-San (World Conservation Monitoring Centre - Trees). Hardy to Zone 7 (cold hardiness limit between -17.7°C and -12.2°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

Wilson (1916) relates that "[i]t is in fact a very rare and local tree and grows only in remote mountainous parts of central Hondo... Dr. H. Shirasawa told me of the discovery of this tree on the Yatsugadake, a high mountain on the borders of Kai and Shinano provinces, and acting on this information I visited the place... The mountain or mountain ridge has three peaks, the highest being about 3000 m. above sea-level, and is probably the richest mountain for conifers in the empire. The lower slopes, doubtless once well forested, are now moor-like and covered with coarse grasses and shrubs, with small scattered woods of mixed trees. Above 1600 m. the moorland gives place to forest, mainly coniferous. On the open, wind-swept moorland, between 1200 and 1600 m. altitude and growing with low bushes of Juniperus rigida S. & Z., and a scrubby growth of Pinus densiflora S. & Z. I found Picea Maximowiczii to be fairly common as a low bushy tree, pyramidal in outline and very densely branched. It also grows scattered through mixed woods, where trees 20 m. tall are met with. From what I saw and gathered in conversation this Spruce is on the verge of extinction and the large trees that are known are but few in number."

Big tree

Wilson (1916) states that "the only really large trees known are in temple grounds. One tree at Nakashinden I measured was 25 m. tall with a trunk 2 m. in girth. This was the largest specimen I saw, but I was told of trees 40 m. tall with trunks 4 m. in girth, and Shirasawa writes of a specimen in the grounds of the village temple at Kawakami which is 50 m. tall and has a trunk 5 m. in girth.






The name "hime-baramomi" means "daughter of the baramomi," which is Picea torano. This species closely resembles P. torano, differing mainly in having smaller cones and resinous winter buds.

Both varieties are listed by the WCMC as vulnerable: "confined to small and scattered populations in degraded montane woodland ... Both the habitat and the tree have been overexploited. Much of the habitat remains degraded and regeneration is poor" (World Conservation Monitoring Centre - Trees).

This tree was first discovered to the West in Japanese temple grounds, where it is a widely planted ornamental. The first collection in the wild was by Sugawa Tschonoski, who found the tree on Fuji-san. He was a plant collector for Carl Maximowicz, curator of the St. Petersburg Botanical Garden herbarium, who had been in Japan exploring the local flora in 1862. Tschonoski sent seeds and herbarium material to Maximowicz in 1865; when Regel published the species later that year, he named it for Maximowicz. It was not found in the wild again "until its rediscovery in October 1911 by Mr. Mitsua Koyama" [cf. Picea koyamae] (Wilson 1916).


See also

The species account at Threatened Conifers of the World.

Last Modified 2017-12-29