The Gymnosperm Database


Picea obovata forest, Pinus pumila on slopes behind, Barguzimsky Natural Reserve near Baikal.jpg[Nikolai Nikolaevich Laschinskii, The Central Siberian Botanical Garden].


Pinus pumila on the slopes and Picea obovata in the valley, Barguzimsky Natural Reserve near Baikal [Nikolai Nikolaevich Laschinskii, The Central Siberian Botanical Garden].


Picea obovata with Betula sp. in Barguzimsky Natural Reserve near Baikal [Nikolai Nikolaevich Laschinskii, The Central Siberian Botanical Garden].

line drawing

Line drawing; for full size image go to the Flora of China (Wu and Raven 1999).


Stand at Dolon-Uran Ridge, north of Lake Baikal [Vladimir Dinets] (e-mail 2000.02.02).


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Conservation status

Picea obovata

Ledeb. 1833

Common names

Ель сибирская [Russian]; Siberian Spruce [English]; Sibirgran [Norwegian].

Taxonomic notes


Very similar to P. abies, arguably synonymous or perhaps better described as a variety. An intermediate form in NE Russia, P. × fennica, represents an introgressive hybrid between the two species (Farjon 1990). This introgression is detailed by Krutovskii and Bergmann (1995), who analyzed isozyme loci for populations sampled from across the range of the two species. They found so little variation between the two taxa, and such a large zone of introgressive hybridization (covering both sides of the Ural Mountains) as to warrant describing them as "two geographical races of one spruce species."

Some authors describe a variety camchatica, in central Kamchatka (Vladimir Dinets e-mail 1998.01.02).


Distribution and Ecology

N Europe to Kamchatka. Var. fennica in S Sweden, S Norway to Leningrad (Silba 1986). Alternatively, the species is continuous with P. abies, the division (and zone of introgression) occurring in the Ural Mountains, with P. obovata extending E from the Urals to the Sea of Okhotsk (Farjon 1990). Hardy to Zone 1 (cold hardiness limit below -45.6°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001, variety not specified), which makes it one of the most cold-hardy trees known.

Big tree

42 m tall with a 150 cm dbh, on the Svyatoi Nos Peninsula, Lake Baikal, Russia. For var. fennica: Valaam Isl., Ladoga Lake, Russia (40 m, dbh 2.4 m) (Vladimir Dinets e-mail 1998.01.02).







Farjon, Aljos. 1990. Pinaceae: drawings and descriptions of the genera Abies, Cedrus, Pseudolarix, Keteleeria, Nothotsuga, Tsuga, Cathaya, Pseudotsuga, Larix and Picea. Königstein: Koeltz Scientific Books.

Krutovskii, K.V. and F. Bergmann. 1995. Introgressive hybridization and phylogenetic relationships between Norway, Picea abies (L.) Karst., and Siberian, P. obovata Ledeb., spruce species studied by isozyme loci. Heredity 74: 464-480. Available:, accessed 2008.09.18.

See also

Last Modified 2017-12-29