|Serbian Spruce foliage, showing the blue-green undersides of the needles|
Picea omorika, common name Serbian Spruce (Serbian: Панчићева оморика, Pančićeva omorika, pronounced [pâːnt͡ʃit͡ɕɛv̞a ɔmɔ̌rika]), is a species of coniferous tree endemic to the Drina River valley in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina near Višegrad, and western Serbia, with a total range of only about 60 ha, at 800–1,600 m (2,625–5,249 ft) altitude. It was originally discovered near the village of Zaovine on the Tara Mountain in 1875, and named by the Serbian botanist Josif Pančić; the specific epithet omorika is simply the Serbian word for "Serbian spruce". All other spruces are smrča (смрча) in Serbian.
It is a medium-sized evergreen tree growing to 20 m (66 ft) tall, exceptionally 40 m (131 ft), with a trunk diameter of up to 1 m (3 ft). The shoots are buff-brown, and densely pubescent (hairy). The leaves are needle-like, 10–20 mm long, flattened in cross-section, dark blue-green above, and blue-white below. The cones are 4–7 cm (2–3 in) long, fusiform (spindle-shaped, broadest in the middle), dark purple (almost black) when young, maturing dark brown 5–7 months after pollination, with stiff scales.
Outside its native range, Serbian spruce is of major importance as an ornamental tree in large gardens, valued in northern Europe and North America for its very attractive crown form and ability to grow on a wide range of soils, including alkaline, clay, acid and sandy soil, although it prefers moist, drained loam. It is also grown to a small extent in forestry for Christmas trees, timber and paper production, particularly in northern Europe, though its slow growth makes it less important than Sitka spruce or Norway spruce. In cultivation, it has produced hybrids with the closely related Black spruce and also with Sitka spruce.
Because of its limited range, it is not a major source of nutrition to wildlife, but does provide cover for birds and small mammals. Prior to the Pleistocene ice ages, it had a much larger range throughout most of Europe.
- Conifer Specialist Group (1998). Picea omorika. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Listed as Vulnerable (VU D2 v2.3)
- Farjon, A. (1990). Pinaceae. Drawings and Descriptions of the Genera. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3-87429-298-3.
- Rushforth, K. (1987). Conifers. Helm ISBN 0-7470-2801-X.
- Rushforth, K. (1999). Trees of Britain and Europe. Collins ISBN 0-00-220013-9.
- "RHS Plant Selector Picea omorika AGM / RHS Gardening". Apps.rhs.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-02-25.
- "RHS Plant Selector Picea omorika 'Nana' AGM / RHS Gardening". Apps.rhs.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-02-25.
- "RHS Plant Selector Picea omorika 'Pendula' AGM / RHS Gardening". Apps.rhs.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-02-25.
Media related to Picea omorika at Wikimedia Commons