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Illustration by Siebold and Zuccarini (1835).


Mature tree in cultivation, North Carolina, USA [Will Blozan, 2009.04.12].


Bark of the above tree [Will Blozan, 2009.04.12].


Cone of the above tree [Will Blozan, 2009.04.12].


Cone-bearing branch on the above tree [Will Blozan, 2009.04.12].


Cone variation on the above tree [Will Blozan, 2009.04.12].


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Conservation status

Picea torano

(Siebold ex K.Koch) Koehne 1893

Common names

ハリモミ, hari-momi, bara-momi torano-momi [Japanese] (Iwatsuki et al. 1995), tiger-tail spruce [English], Tigerschwanz-Fichte [German].

Taxonomic notes


The name Picea polita is more often seen than Picea torano, being the norm, at least until the early 21st Century, in most published floras and most horticultural texts.


Monoecious, evergreen tree to 30 m tall and 100 cm dbh. Bark grey-brown, deeply fissured and peeling off in scales. Branchlets stout, brown, glabrous, deeply grooved; pulvini stout, 0.6-0.7 mm long. Leaves stiff, hard, sharp-pointed (some consider them the sharpest among all the spruces), linear, quadrangular, ridged, 15-20 mm long, ca. 2.5 mm across, deep green, with a stomatal band on each side; resin canals two, marginal. Flowers May to June, 1-3 near apex of previous year's short shoots. Pollen cones cylindric, red-purple, with numerous microsporophylls. Seed cones pendant, ovate-oblong, green maturing (in October) brown, 7-10 cm long, 4-4.5 cm across. Cone scales persistent, widely obovate, thinly woody, 17-23 mm long, 14-18 mm wide, irregularly denticulate on upper margin; bract scales very small, inconspicuous. Seeds black-brown, obovate, ca. 6 mm long, 3 mm wide; wings brown, obovate ca. 13 mm long, 7 mm wide (Iwatsuki et al. 1995).

Distribution and Ecology

Japan: Pacific Ocean side of C Honshu (westward from Fukushima Prefecture), Shikoku and Kyushu, in the mountains at elevations of (400-)600-1700(-1850) m on volcanic soils (Farjon 1990, Iwatsuki et al. 1995). Hardy to Zone 6 (cold hardiness limit between -23.2°C and -17.8°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

The climate is moist-maritime, with annual precipitation of over 1,000 mm and cold, snowy winters. Occasionally forms pure stands but more often occurs in mixed stands with species such as Abies homolepis, Larix kaempferi, Pinus densiflora, Betula, Acer, Fagus, Quercus, Prunus, and Zelkova serrata (Farjon 1990).

Big tree





Lake Yamanaka at the base of Fuji-San is often mentioned for its remarkable pure forest of Picea torano (Wilson 1916, Farjon 1990).



See also

The species account at Threatened Conifers of the World.

Farjon 1990.

Last Modified 2017-11-12