Botanical Name: Picea jezoensis
Species: P. jezoensis
*Abies jezoensis Siebold & Zucc.
*Abies microsperma Lindl.
*Picea ajanensis Fisch.
*Veitchia japonica Lindl
Common Names: Yezo Spruce, Yeddo Spruce
Habitat : Picea jezoensis is native to northeast Asia, from the mountains of central Japan and the Changbai Mountains on the China-North Korea border, north to eastern Siberia, including the Sikhote-Alin, Kuril Islands, Sakhalin and Kamchatka. It is found in cold but humid temperate rain forests, and nowhere does its range extend more than 400 km from the Pacific Ocean.
Picea jezoensis is an evergreen Tree growing to 35 m (114ft 10in) at a medium rate. The bark is thin and scaly, becoming fissured in old trees. The crown is broad conic. The shoots are pale buff-brown, glabrous (hairless) but with prominent pulvini. The leaves are needle-like, 15-20 mm long, 2 mm broad, flattened in cross-section, dark green above with no stomata, and blue-white to white below with two dense bands of stomata.
The cones are pendulous, slender cylindrical, 4-7 cm long and 2 cm broad when closed, opening to 3 cm broad. They have thin, flexible scales 12-18 mm long. They are green or reddish, maturing pale brown 5–6 months after pollination. The seeds are black, 3 mm long, with a slender, 6-8 mm long pale brown wing.
It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure. It cannot tolerate atmospheric pollution.
Likes abundant moisture at the roots, if grown in drier areas it must be given a deep moist soil. Tolerates poor peaty soils. Succeeds in wet cold and shallow soils but is not very wind-firm in shallow soils. Prefers a pH between 4 to 6. Dislikes shade. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution. Resists wind exposure to some degree. This species is not very successful in Britain. Whilst it is very cold-hardy when dormant, it comes into new growth too early in the spring and this growth is often cut back by late frosts. The few trees that can be found are stunted and poor due to repeated frost damage. The sub-species P. jezoensis hondoensis. (Mayr.)Rehder. is much more successful, it shows remarkably consistent growth in all parts of the country. Though not of the fastest, older trees average 40cm increase a year. Increase in girth is more rapid, 4cm a year is common. In some upland areas, especially over granitic or other base-poor soils, growth rate and health have been seriously affected by aluminium poisoning induced by acid rain. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance.
Seed – stratification will probably improve germination so sow fresh seed in the autumn in a cold frame if possible. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. A position in light shade is probably best. Seed should not be allowed to dry out and should be stored in a cool place. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. They can be planted out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year, or be placed in an outdoor nursery bed for a year or so to increase in size. They might need protection from spring frosts. Cuttings of semi-ripe terminal shoots, 5 – 8cm long, August in a frame. Protect from frost. Forms roots in the spring. Cuttings of mature terminal shoots, 5 – 10cm long, September/October in a cold frame. Takes 12 months. Cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, early summer in a frame. Slow but sure.
Edible Parts: Flowers; Inner bark; Seed.
Young male catkins – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring. Immature female cones – cooked. The central portion, when roasted, is sweet and syrupy. Inner bark – dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails. Seed – raw. Too small and fiddly to be worthwhile unless you are desperate. A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips.
Other Uses :
Essential; Resin; Tannin; Wood.
A resin obtained from the trunk of the tree is used medicinally. Tannin is obtained from the bark. An essential oil is obained from the leaves. Wood – soft, light, elastic, flexible. Used for interior finishes, furniture etc. It is also valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper. The timber is used for construction, machines, poles, furniture, and wood.
Jezo spruce is important in the Russian Far East and northern Japan, for timber and paper production. Much of what is cut is harvested unsustainably (and often illegally) from pristine natural forests.
It is also occasionally planted as an ornamental tree in large gardens.
The Ainu string instrument called tonkori has a body made from Jezo Spruce.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.