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Picea engelmannii, Engelmann Spruce
Picea engelmannii (Engelmann Spruce)
Pinaceae (Pine Family)

Montane, subalpine, alpine. Woodlands. Spring.
Horse Creek Trail, June 6, 2004.

Two inch cones mature at the top of a thirty foot young Engelmann.

Click to see the amazing way these cones are pollinated.

Picea engelmannii (Engelmann Spruce)
Pinaceae (Pine Family)

Montane, subalpine, alpine. Woodlands. Spring.
Lizard Head Trail, July 11, 2008.

These Picea engelmannii seed cones will soon drop off the tree. In contrast, the cones of Picea pungens remain on the tree for months after they have opened and dispensed their seeds.

 

Click to see Picea engelmannii in its krummholz form.

 

 

Picea pungens, Colorado Blue Spruce
Picea pungens (Blue Spruce, Colorado Blue Spruce, Water Spruce)
Pinaceae (Pine Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands. Spring.
Near Yellow Jacket Canyon, March 4, 2004.

Winter makes the 3-4 inch long seed cones more visible.

Picea pungens (Blue Spruce, Colorado Blue Spruce, Water Spruce)
Pinaceae (Pine Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands. Spring.
Near Yellow Jacket Canyon, June , 2005.

Cooley Spruce Galls are fairly common on Colorado Blue Spruce but usually do little damage.  The distorted growth results from an Aphid-like insect, Adelges cooleyi, depositing its eggs on the tree terminal twigs.  The emerging young insects feed on new spring twig growth, and the tree isolates this unwanted irritation in a gall.  The Aphids grow within the gall, break free when the gall dries and cracks open, are transformed to a winged stage and leave the plant, returning later to re-start the cycle.

The pictured gall is just beginning to form and the new needle growth is changing from its lustrous blue/green to typical spruce-gall light pink.

Picea pungens
Picea pungens (Blue Spruce, Colorado Blue Spruce, Water Spruce)
Pinaceae (Pine Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands. Spring.
Bear Creek Trail, October 4, 2012.

Conifers take on a very different appearance when they are decorated by Aspen leaves.