Chinese Spruce (Picea asperata)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Chinese Spruce
Picea asperata

Wood – soft, not strong. Used in general construction[46, 61]. It is also valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper[171]. The timber is used for construction, aircraft, railway sleepers, furniture, and wood fiber[266].

The trunk is used for producing resin[266].

The roots, branches, and leaves are used for producing aromatic oils[266].

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Young male catkins – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring[172].

    Immature female cones – cooked. The central portion, when roasted, is sweet and syrupy[172].

    Inner bark – dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread[172]. An emergency food when all else fails.

    Seed – raw. Too small and fiddly to be worthwhile unless you are desperate[172].

    A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips[172].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – stratification will probably improve germination so sow fresh seed in the autumn in a cold frame if possible[80]. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible in a cold frame[78]. A position in light shade is probably best[78]. Seed should not be allowed to dry out and should be stored in a cool place[80]. 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[78]. Cuttings of mature terminal shoots, 5 – 10cm long, September/October in a cold frame. Takes 12 months[78]. Cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, early summer in a frame. Slow but sure.
Likes abundant moisture at the roots, if grown in drier areas it must be given a deep moist soil[11]. Succeeds in wet cold and shallow soils but is not very wind-firm in shallow soils[1]. This species prefers a dry cold high mountain site[200]. Prefers a pH between 4 to 6[200]. Dislikes shade[200]. Tolerates poor peaty soils[200]. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution[11]. Resists wind exposure to some degree[200]. This species has been planted experimentally in Europe as a timber tree[50]. Growth of young trees is usually very slow due to damage by late spring frosts[11]. However, once trees get above 2 metres (which can take 10 years or more) growth increases and can be fairly rapid with an average of 30cm a year common[185]. 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’ pollution[200]. 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[200]. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly[200]. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus[200].
E. Asia – W. China.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.