Overview

Brief Summary

Pinaceae -- Pine family

    Dale Thornburgh

    Brewer spruce (Picea breweriana), named for its first collector,  is often considered "mysterious" because this attractive conifer  is found on seldom-visited high mountain ridges and steep north slopes.  Its other common name, weeping spruce, is derived from the distinctive  feature of many rope-like branchlets that hang in a fringe from all but  the topmost slender horizontal limbs. This branching habit results in many  knots in the wood, which has little commercial importance.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Dale Thornburgh

Source: Silvics of North America

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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Trinity, Del Norte, and Siskiyou Counties, California, and Josephine and Curry Counties, Oregon.

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Range Description

Brewer spruce, a relict of the widespread Arcto-Tertiary forests, is now restricted to a highly fragmented range in the Klamath Ranges of northwestern California and southwestern Oregon near the Pacific coast of North America, between latitudes 40° 50' N. and 42° 40' N (Ledig et al, 2005). The best developed stands are on the high ridges of the western Siskiyou Mountains in California and Oregon. Other concentrations are found on high ridges and in upper valleys of the Marble, Salmon, and Trinity Mountains of California (Griffin and Critchfield. 1972). The area of occupancy is estimated to around 775 km2 while the extent of occurrence is estimated to be 12,000 km2. It is knwon from 6-8 locations.

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Brewer spruce is endemic to the Klamath region of northwestern
California and adjacent Oregon. It is distributed from from Del Norte,
Trinity, and Siskiyou counties in California to Curry and Josephine
counties in Oregon [11,14,18]. The best developed stands are located
on high ridges and upper valleys of the Klamath, Shasta-Trinity, and Six
Rivers National Forests of California and in the Siskiyou and Rogue
River National Forests of Oregon [11,18,20].
  • 14. Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]
  • 11. Charbonneau, Robert; Rice, Carol. 1990. Upper Strawberry Creek watershed restoration at the University of California, Berkeley. In: Hughes, H. Glenn; Bonnicksen, Thomas M., eds. Restoration '89: the new management challenge: Proceedings, 1st annual meeting of the Society for Ecological Restoration; 1989 January 16-20; Oakland, CA. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Arboretum, Society for Ecological Restoration: 97-109. [14691]
  • 18. Thornburgh, Dale. 1990. Picea breweriana Wats. Brewer spruce. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 181-186. [13383]
  • 20. Waring, R. H. 1969. Forest plants of the eastern Siskiyous: their environment and vegetational distribution. Northwest Science. 43(1): 1-17. [9047]

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

More info on this topic.

This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

1 Northern Pacific Border
4 Sierra Mountains

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Occurrence in North America

CA OR

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Brewer spruce is found only in the mountains of northwestern California  and southwestern Oregon near the Pacific coast between latitudes 40°  50' N. and 42° 40' N. The best developed stands are on the high  ridges of the western Siskiyou Mountains in California and Oregon. Other  concentrations are found on high ridges and in upper valleys of the  Marble, Salmon, and Trinity Mountains of California (7). Throughout the  rest of the range, Brewer spruce grows as a single tree and as scattered  small populations in valleys and on ridgetops (9,12,16).

     
- The native range of Brewer spruce

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Dale Thornburgh

Source: Silvics of North America

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Trees to 40m; trunk to 1.5m diam., typically buttressed; crown conic. Bark gray to brown. Branches drooping; twigs pendent, elongate, slender, gray-brown, finely pubescent. Buds gray-brown, 5--7mm, apex rounded. Leaves 1.5--3cm, flattened or broadly triangular in cross section (abaxial surface rounded or slightly angular), rather rigid, abaxial surface dark green with stomatal bands absent, adaxial surface glaucous with conspicuous stomatal bands separated by slight ridge or angle, apex blunt (especially on older leaves). Seed cones 6.5--12cm; scales fan-shaped, 15--20 ´ 15--20mm, rigid, margin at apex entire to slightly erose.
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Description

More info for the term: presence

Brewer spruce is a native, endemic conifer. It has a distinctive,
drooping appearance caused by the presence of thousands of long,
ropelike branches hanging from all but the topmost horizontal limbs
[14,18,19,23]. At maturity, Brewer spruces usually reaches 80 to 100
feet (24-30 m) in height [16], but can reach up to 172 feet (52 m) in
height [21]. Diameters range from approximately 3.8 feet (117 cm) [18]
to up to 4.5 feet (1.35 m) in some areas [21]. The bark is thin and
broken into long, thin, appressed scales [14,16].

The leaves are obtuse, flat on top, and rounded underneath, and spread
from all sides of the branchlets. The male cones are stalked and oblong
(3 to 4 inches [7-10 cm] long). The seeds are 0.12 inch (3 mm) long
[14,16].

The root system generally is shallow; however, on deeper soils, a few
vertical roots may extend several meters [18].

Brewer spruce can live as long as 900 years [21].
  • 19. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573]
  • 14. Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]
  • 16. Safford, L. O. 1974. Picea A. Dietr. spruce. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 587-597. [7728]
  • 18. Thornburgh, Dale. 1990. Picea breweriana Wats. Brewer spruce. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 181-186. [13383]
  • 21. Waring, R. H.; Emmingham, W. H.; Running, S. W. 1975. Environmental limits of an endemic spruce, Picea breweriana. Canadian Journal of Botany. 53: 1599-1613. [19036]
  • 23. Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1977. Northwest trees. Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers. 222 p. [4208]

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Physical Description

Tree, Evergreen, Monoecious, Habit erect, Trees without or rarely having knees, Tree with bark rough or scaly, Young shoots 3-dimensional, Buds resinous, Buds not resinous, Leaves needle-like, Leaves alternate, Needle-like leaf margins entire (use magnification), Leaf apex obtuse, Leaves < 5 cm long, Leaves < 10 cm long, Leaves not blue-green, Needle-like leaves flat, Needle-like leaves triangular, Needle-like leaves not twisted, Needle-like leaf habit erect, Needle-like leaf habit drooping, Needle-like leaves per fascicle mostly 1, Needle-like leaf sheath early deciduous, Needle-like leaf sheath persistent, Twigs pubescent, Twigs viscid, Twigs not viscid, Twigs with peg-like projections or large fascicles after needles fall, Berry-like cones orange, Woody seed cones > 5 cm long, Bracts of seed cone included, Seeds brown, Seeds winged, Seeds unequally winged, Seed wings prominent, Seed wings equal to or broader than body.
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Stephen C. Meyers

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Cold hollows and n. slopes in mts. of CA and sw. OR, at 4600-7500' elevation.

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology

Site Characteristics: despite its restricted distribution, Brewer spruce has a broad ecological amplitude. Its apparent limitations are high water tables and frequent fires. Brewer spruce is quite tolerant of soil moisture stress, cold temperatures, low light, low-fertility soils, and snow. Although Brewer spruce can tolerate considerable soil moisture stress, it is sensitive to high evaporation demands. Brewer spruce grows in a climate of cold, wet winters and warm, relatively dry summers with respective temperature ranges of -1 to 5 deg C and to 11-20 deg C. Annual precipitation varies between 39 and 110 inches (1,000-2,800 mm).

Brewer spruce stands occur on north-, south-, east-, and west-facing slopes, but the preferred habitat is steep, north-facing slopes. Brewer spruce occurs on rocky ridges, cold hollows, and on dry talus and moraines. It never occurs in areas where the soils are saturated during the growing season, such as boggy or wet areas.

Brewer spruce grows on soils developed from sedimentary, granitic, serpentine, and metavolcanic rock. Most soils are shallow, rocky, and undeveloped; however, Brewer spruce does occur on deeper soils. Soil pH ranges between 4.6 and 7.2 on mica schist, metavolcanic, granitic, and ultrabasic soils. Soil depth varies between 12 and 50 inches (6.5-127 cm). Brewer spruce is a weak indicator of serpentine soils (Safford et al., 2005). Heavy metals, especially iron and nickel, can attain high levels in soil and plant tissues of Brewer spruce.

Successional status: Brewer spruce is very shade tolerant and can become established under an almost closed canopy. It is usually occurs in late seral or climax communities but can also invaded seral pine stands and montane chaparral. Brewer spruce is restricted to less fertile soils because of strong competition from other conifers.(Cope, 1992)

Throughout the range of Brewer spruce, natural regeneration is abundant under dense Brewer spruce-white fir stands. These stands contain an average of 1,360 Brewer spruce and 3,460 white fir seedlings per hectare (550 and 1,400/acre) less than 15 cm (6 in) in height. Brewer spruce seedlings cannot survive strong sunlight. The shallow, slow-growing root system causes the seedlings to be susceptible to the high moisture stress and temperatures of exposed sites. Brewer spruce seedlings are usually lacking in clearcuts, even when these are adjacent to stands containing large cone bearing trees. (Thornburgh, 1990).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Habitat characteristics

More info for the terms: serpentine soils, shrubs

Despite its restricted distribution, Brewer spruce has a broad
ecological amplitude. Its apparent limitations are high water tables
and frequent fires [17,18]. Brewer spruce is quite tolerant of soil
moisture stress, cold temperatures, low light, low-fertility soils, and
snow [13,18,21]. Although Brewer spruce can tolerate considerable soil
moisture stress, it is sensitive to high evaporation demands. Under
such demand, stomata close, halting photosynthesis [13,18,21].

Brewer spruce grows in a climate of cold, wet winters and warm,
relatively dry summers with respective temperature ranges of 30 to 41
degrees Fahrenheit (-1 to 5 deg C) and 52 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit
(11-20 deg C). Annual precipitation varies between 39 and 110 inches
(1,000-2,800 mm) [18].

Brewer spruce stands occur on north-, south-, east-, and west-facing
slopes, but the preferred habitat is steep, north-facing slopes [3,18].
Brewer spruce occurs on rocky ridges [18], cold hollows [14], and on dry
talus and moraines [17]. It never occurs in areas where the
soils are saturated during the growing season, such as boggy or wet
areas. The slope is generally 11 to 70 percent [18].

Brewer spruce grows on soils developed from sedimentary, granitic,
serpentine, and metavolcanic rock [18]. Most soils are shallow, rocky,
and undeveloped; however, Brewer spruce does occur on deeper soils [18].
Soil pH ranges between 4.6 and 7.2 on mica schist, meta volcanic,
granitic, and ultrabasic soils [21]. Soil depth varies between 12 and
50 inches (6.5-127 cm) [3]. Kruckeberg [9] lists Brewer spruce as an
indicator of serpentine soils. Heavy metals, especially iron and
nickel, can attain high levels in soil and plant tissues of Brewer
spruce [9].

Brewer spruce occurs at the elevations listed below [3,18]:

feet meters
Siskiyou Region 3,840-5,120 1,163-1,515
Eastern Klamath Region 4,500-7,500 1,370-2,290

The majority of Brewer spruce overstory associates are listed in the
Distribution and Occurrence frame. Other overstory associates not
mentioned previously include noble fir (Abies procera), sugar pine
(Pinus lambertina), Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia), and Alaska cedar
(Chamaecyparis nootkatensis) [3,4,8,17,18]. Shrubs that occur in
association with Brewer spruce include Sadler oak, huckleberry oak
(Quercus vaccinifolia), greenleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula),
pinemat manzanita (A. nevadensis), thinleaf huckleberry (Vaccinium
membranaceum), snowberry (Symphoricarpos hesperius), dwarf Oregon grape
(Berberis nervosa), and Labrador tea (Ledum glandulosum) [3,17,18].
Associates that occur in the herbaceous layer are beargrass (Xerophyllum
tenax), western prince's pine (Chimaphila umbellata), vanillaleaf
(Achlys triphylla), rattlesnake plantain (Goodyera oblongifolia),
Pacific trillium (Trillium ovatum), false Solomon's seal (Smilacina
stellata), queenscup (Clintonia uniflora), starflower (Tridentalis
latifolia), and groundsel (Senecio triangularis) [3,4,17,18].
  • 14. Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]
  • 3. Atzet, Thomas; Wheeler, David L. 1984. Preliminary plant associations of the Siskiyou Mountain Province. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 278 p. [9351]
  • 4. Atzet, Tom; Wheeler, David; Riegel, Gregg; [and others]
  • 8. Harris, A. S. 1990. Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D. Don) Spach Alaska-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 97-102. [13373]
  • 9. Kruckeberg, Arthur R. 1984. California serpentines: flora, vegetation, geology, soils and management problems. Publications in Botany Volume 48. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 180 p. [12482]
  • 13. Minore, Don. 1979. Comparative autecological characteristics of northwestern tree species--a literature review. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-87. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 72 p. [1659]
  • 17. Sawyer, John O.; Thornburgh, Dale A. 1977. Montane and subalpine vegetation of the Klamath Mountains. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley & Sons: 699-732. [685]
  • 18. Thornburgh, Dale. 1990. Picea breweriana Wats. Brewer spruce. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 181-186. [13383]
  • 21. Waring, R. H.; Emmingham, W. H.; Running, S. W. 1975. Environmental limits of an endemic spruce, Picea breweriana. Canadian Journal of Botany. 53: 1599-1613. [19036]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the term: codominant

Although Brewer spruce grows throughout the Klamath region, it usually
occurs in local, disjunct populations [17]. It is a minor component of
a variety of communities [24]. In some areas, Brewer spruce is a minor
climax species in stands dominated by California red fir (Abies
magnifica), white fir (A. concolor), or mountain hemlock (Tsuga
mertenmsiana) [3]. It occurs occasionally as a codominant in some
California red fir and western hemlock habitat types. Near the Russian
Peak area of the Marble Mountains of California, Brewer spruce is a
major component of the California red fir/northern twinflower (Linnaea
borealis) and California ref fir/huckleberry oak (Quercus vaccinifolia)
types [17]. This species also occurs in small dense stands on mostly
north-facing slopes, as individuals invading seral pine stands and
montane chaparral, and as scattered individuals in closed white fir
forests [17]. Brewer spruce is often an indicator of cold and wet
environments [2].

Brewer spruce is listed as a dominant or codominant overstory species in
the following published classification:

Preliminary plant associations of the Siskiyou Mountain Province [3].
  • 3. Atzet, Thomas; Wheeler, David L. 1984. Preliminary plant associations of the Siskiyou Mountain Province. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 278 p. [9351]
  • 2. Atzet, Thomas; Wheeler, David L. 1982. Historical and ecological perspectives on fire activity in the Klamath Geological Province of the Rogue River and Siskiyou National Forests. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 16 p. [6252]
  • 17. Sawyer, John O.; Thornburgh, Dale A. 1977. Montane and subalpine vegetation of the Klamath Mountains. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley & Sons: 699-732. [685]
  • 24. Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1984. Timberline: Mountain and arctic forest frontiers. Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers. 304 p. [339]

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

FRES20 Douglas-fir
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES23 Fir - spruce
FRES24 Hemlock - Sitka spruce

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Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

205 Mountain hemlock
206 Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir
207 Red fir
211 White fir
215 Western white pine
224 Western hemlock
229 Pacific Douglas-fir
231 Port-Orford-cedar
234 Douglas-fir - tanoak - Pacific madrone
243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer
244 Pacific ponderosa pine - Douglas-fir
247 Jeffrey pine
256 California mixed subalpine

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Habitat: Plant Associations

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

K001 Spruce - cedar - hemlock forest
K004 Fir - hemlock forest
K005 Mixed conifer forest
K007 Red fir forest
K012 Douglas-fir forest
K029 California mixed evergreen forest

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Soils and Topography

Brewer spruce grows on a wide variety of geologic parent materials and  soils. It is found on soils developed from sedimentary, granitic,  serpentine, and metavolcanic rocks. Most of the large stands of Brewer  spruce are found on shallow, rocky, undeveloped soils of the order  Entisols; a few stands are on deeper, well-developed soils. Throughout its  range, Brewer spruce is never found in areas where the soils are saturated  during the growing season. It appears to be generally restricted from the  more fertile soils by competition from true firs (Abies spp.).  Brewer spruce is more abundant on less fertile soils.

    Brewer spruce is found on most topographic locations-ridgetops, north-  and south-facing slopes, benches, and valley bottoms. The only habitat  restriction is boggy or wet areas. The apparently preferred location is  the steep, north-facing slopes where the largest stands are located. In  the western Siskiyou Mountains, these locations are north slopes near the  tops of the ridges, but in the eastern Salmon Mountains, the largest  stands are on middle, north-facing slopes. Brewer spruce is found from  elevations of 700 to 2100 in (2,300 to 6,900 ft) in the western Siskiyou  Mountains and from 1370 to 2290 in (4,500 to 7,500 ft) in the eastern  Klamath region.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Dale Thornburgh

Source: Silvics of North America

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Climate

The range of Brewer spruce is primarily influenced by the maritime  climate of the Pacific Ocean: cool, wet winters and warm, relatively dry  summers. The climate changes drastically, however, from west to east  across the range of Brewer spruce, which is 113 km (70 mi). On the most  westerly ridge occupied by Brewer spruce, average annual precipitation is  more than 2800 mm (110 in); farther east, it is less than 1000 mm (39 in).  Most of the precipitation falls as winter rain or snow; less than 5  percent occurs in the summer. The amount of -snowfall and accumulated  snowpack varies greatly from year to year and geographically across the  range. A few stands of Brewer spruce in valleys receive no snow some  years, whereas other stands accumulate up to 4 to 5 m (13 to 16 ft) (5).  Humidity is high in the western part of the range and relatively low in  the eastern part. Summer fog is common along the western-most ridges and  valleys. Summer thunderstorms are common in the eastern portion of the  range. Temperatures also vary widely. In the western portion, the mean  temperature in January is 5° C (41° F); in July, 11° C (52°  F). On the eastern edge of the range, the mean temperature is -1° C  (30° F) in January and 20° C (68° F) in July.

    The varied climate indicates that Brewer spruce has an ecological  amplitude that should enable it to obtain a wider and more contiguous  distribution. Its sensitivity to fire seems to have restricted its range  (13).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Dale Thornburgh

Source: Silvics of North America

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Habitat & Distribution

Montane to subalpine forests of the Siskiyou Mountains; 1000--2300m; Calif., Oreg.
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Associations

Associated Forest Cover

Brewer spruce grows with a wide variety of associated plants and  vegetation types in the montane and subalpine forests of the Klamath  region. Although it grows throughout the region, its range is one of  local, disjunct populations of various sizes. In some areas, it is an  occasional climax tree species in mixed stands dominated by California red  fir (Abies magnifica), white fir (A. concolor), or  mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana). In other areas, it grows in  small, pure, dense stands on north-, east-, and west-facing slopes. It is  also found as individuals invading seral pine stands and montane  chaparral. In the Siskiyou Mountains' Brewer spruce seedlings and saplings  are found in montane chaparral on all aspects. It is associated with  Sadler oak Quercus sadleriana), huckleberry oak (Q.  vaccinifolia), and greenleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula).

    Some of the best-developed stands of Brewer spruce are located on  moderate east- and west-facing slopes with, deep soil. These forests in  the California red fir/Sadler oak habitat have a 70 to 80 percent canopy  cover. Density of trees over 10 cm (4 in) in d.b.h. is 125 to 320 Brewer  spruce per hectare (50 to 130/acre), 30 to 95 white fir per hectare (12 to  39/acre), 10 to 70 Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) per hectare  (4 to 28/acre), 0 to 10 sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana) per hectare  (0 to 4/acre), and 5 to 60 California red fir per hectare (2 to 24/acre).  The total basal area ranges from 35 to 54 m²/ha (153 to 235 ft²/acre),.  Dense reproduction is present in the tolerant conifers: Brewer spruce,  California red fir, and white fir; Brewer spruce has about one-third the  total number of seedlings under 180 cm (70 in) in height.

    Brewer spruce is an element of the following vegetation habitat types of  the Klamath region (2,12,13,14). Plants of major importance are listed for  each type.

    Abies concolor zone, Siskiyou Mountains-      Abies concolor/Vaccinium membranaceum (white fir/thinleaf  huckleberry) habitat type. Brewer spruce is a minor climax species. Other  shrubs: Sadler oak.

    Abies concolor/Pachistima myrsinites (white fir/Oregon boxwood)  habitat type. Brewer spruce is often a codominant climax species. Other  trees: Douglas-fir and sugar pine. Other shrubs: Sadler oak, Oregongrape  (Berberis nervosa). Other herbs: western prince's-pine (Chimaphila  umbellata), rattlesnake plantain (Goodyera oblongifolia), and  vanillaleaf (Achlys triphylla).

    Chamaecyparis lawsoniana/Rhododendron occidentale (Port-Orford-cedar/western  azalea) habitat type. Brewer spruce is often a minor climax species. Other  trees: western white pine (Pinus monticola). Other shrubs: Sadler  oak.

    Abies concolor zone, central Klamath region-      Abies concolor/Chimaphila umbellata (white fir/western  prince's-pine) habitat type. Brewer spruce occasionally occurs as a minor  climax species. Other trees: Douglas-fir, sugar pine, ponderosa pine (Pinus  ponderosa), and incense-cedar (Libocedrus decurrens). Other  shrubs: western hazel (Corylus cornuta), wood rose (Rosa  gymnocarpa), and snowberry (Symphoricarpos hesperius).

    Abies magnifica zone, Siskiyou Mountains-      Abies magnifica/Quercus sadleriana (California red fir/Sadler  oak) habitat type. Brewer spruce often occurs as a minor climax species.  Other trees: white fir, Douglas-fir, western white pine, and sugar pine.  Other shrubs: thinleaf huckleberry.

    Abies magnifica/Arctostaphylos nevadensis (California red  fir/pine mat manzanita) habitat type. Brewer spruce occasionally occurs as  a codominant climax species. Other trees: western white pine. Other  shrubs: Sadler Oak and greenleaf manzanita.

    Picea breweriana/Quercus vaccinifolia (Brewer spruce/huckleberry  oak) habitat type. Brewer spruce occurs as a codominant climax species.  Other trees: western white pine, California red fir, Douglas-fir, and  incense-cedar. Other shrubs: greenleaf manzanita, pine mat manzanita, and  Sadler oak.

    Picea breweriana/Quercus sadleriana (Brewer spruce/Sadler oak)  habitat type. Brewer spruce occurs as the dominant climax species. Other  trees: western white pine and white fir. Other shrubs: huckleberry oak and  thinleaf huckleberry.

    Abies magnifica zone, central and eastern Klamath region-      Abies magnifica/Leucothoe davisiae (California red fir/mountain  laurel) habitat type. Brewer spruce is an occasional minor climax species.  Other trees: white fir, lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), western  white pine, and mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana). Other  shrubs: swamp current (Ribes lacustre), mountain alder (Alnus  tenuifolia), and mountain ash (Sorbus californica). Other  herbs: groundsel (Senecio triangularis), queenscup (Clintonia  uniflora), starflower (Trientalis latifolia), trillium (Trillium  ovatum), and false Solomon's seal (Smilacina stellata).

    Abies magnifica/Linnaea borealis (California red fir/twinflower)  habitat type. Brewer spruce is an occasional codominant climax species in  open forest stands. Other trees: Douglas-fir, white fir, western white  pine, mountain hemlock, sugar pine, ponderosa pine, western yew (Taxus  brevifolia), incense-cedar, Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii),  lodgepole pine, and subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa). Other  shrubs: Sadler oak, wood rose, and snowberry. Other herbs: queenscup.

    Abies magnifica/Quercus vaccinifolia (California red  fir/huckleberry oak) habitat type. Brewer spruce is an occasional minor  climax species. Other trees: white fir, Douglas-fir, sugar pine, lodgepole  pine, and western white pine. Other shrubs: greenleaf manzanita, pine mat  manzanita, and bush chinkapin (Castanopsis sempervirens).

    Tsuga mertensiana zone, Siskiyou Mountains-      Tsuga mertensiana/Vaccinium membranaceum (mountain  hemlock/thinleaf huckleberry) habitat type. Brewer spruce is a codominant  climax species. Other trees: California red fir, western white pine, and  Alaska-cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis).

    Tsuga mertensiana zone, central and eastern Klamath region-      Tsuga mertensiana/Phyllodoce empetriformis (western  hemlock/heather) habitat type. Brewer spruce is an occasional codominant  climax species. Other trees: California red fir, white fir, western white  pine, and lodgepole pine. Other shrubs: Labrador-tea (Ledum  glandulosum).

    Tsuga mertensiana/Quercus vaccinifolia (western  hemlock/huckleberry oak) habitat type. Brewer spruce is of minor  importance as a climax species. Other trees: California red fir and  western white pine. Other shrubs: pine mat manzanita, bush chinkapin, and  greenleaf manzanita.

    Brewer spruce is a minor component in three forest cover types (4):  Mountain Hemlock (Society of American Foresters Type 205), Red Fir (Type  207), and California Mixed Subalpine (Type 256).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Diseases and Parasites

Damaging Agents

The shallow root system of Brewer spruce makes  it more susceptible than its associates to windthrow. In some areas, the  high incidence of root rot (Heterobasidion annosum) further lowers  its resistance to wind. Thin bark and long weeping branches make Brewer  spruce susceptible to fire. Areas predictably occupied by Brewer spruce  are limited to fire-resistant open forests on north-facing slopes or rocky  ridges. A series of major forest fires in 1987 burned throughout the range  of Brewer spruce. Most of the small, pure stands on north slopes were not  damaged. In the more prevalent mixed stands, low-intensity ground fires  killed the Brewer spruce and white fir, but the thick-barked Douglas-fir,  pines, and California red fir survived. The recovery of Brewer spruce may  take decades or centuries because of the extent of these fires. The  increased potential of forest fires and inability of Brewer spruce  seedlings to tolerate high moisture stress may result in its rapid  extinction. If global warming occurs (11), it could threaten the existence  of localized tree species such as Brewer spruce.

    As a small tree, Brewer spruce has enough flexibility to bend under the  weight of heavy snow. It develops a pistol butt as the tree matures.

    Comparatively little damage from insects or fungi has been recorded for  Brewer spruce (3). The Cooley spruce gall adelgid (Adelges cooleyi) is  common but does little damage (6). Seed chalcids (Megastigmus spp.)  have been observed in mature seeds. In some areas, 36 percent of the  Brewer spruce was parasitized by the dwarfmistletoe Arceuthobium  campylopodum (8). Brewer spruce is intolerant of industrial fumes.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 6 - 80

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the term: fuel

Brewer spruce serves as a medium fuel type [2].
  • 2. Atzet, Thomas; Wheeler, David L. 1982. Historical and ecological perspectives on fire activity in the Klamath Geological Province of the Rogue River and Siskiyou National Forests. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 16 p. [6252]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

More info for the term: series

In a series of fires in 1987 that burned throughout the range of Brewer
spruce, low-intensity surface fires killed Brewer spruce in mixed
stands. In small stands on north, rocky slopes, Brewer spruce was
undamaged [18]. On granitic soils fire can be extremely damaging to
Brewer spruce because the shallow root system is damaged by heat
transfer to the soil [3].
  • 3. Atzet, Thomas; Wheeler, David L. 1984. Preliminary plant associations of the Siskiyou Mountain Province. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 278 p. [9351]
  • 18. Thornburgh, Dale. 1990. Picea breweriana Wats. Brewer spruce. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 181-186. [13383]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: root crown, secondary colonizer

Tree without adventitious-bud root crown
Secondary colonizer - off-site seed

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: climax, competition

Brewer spruce is very shade tolerant and can become established under an
almost closed canopy [18,21]. It is usually occurs in late seral or
climax communities but can also invades seral pine stands and montane
chaparral [17,21]. Toward the eastern limit of its range, stands
dominated by western white pine (Pinus monticola) and Douglas-fir
(Pseudotsuga menziesii) are replace by Brewer spruce-Shasta red fir
(Abies magnifica var. shastensis) climax [21]. Brewer spruce is
restricted to less fertile soils because of strong competition from
other conifers [18,21].
  • 17. Sawyer, John O.; Thornburgh, Dale A. 1977. Montane and subalpine vegetation of the Klamath Mountains. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley & Sons: 699-732. [685]
  • 18. Thornburgh, Dale. 1990. Picea breweriana Wats. Brewer spruce. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 181-186. [13383]
  • 21. Waring, R. H.; Emmingham, W. H.; Running, S. W. 1975. Environmental limits of an endemic spruce, Picea breweriana. Canadian Journal of Botany. 53: 1599-1613. [19036]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: epigeal, litter, monoecious

The major regeneration mode of Brewer spruce is by seed [2]. Brewer
spruce is monoecious and begins producing seed at 20 to 30 years of age.
Mature Brewer spruce are apparently fair seed producers [18]. Crops
occur at 2-year intervals, but some trees produce cones yearly [18].
Production of seed ranges between 51,000 and 74,000 seeds per pound
(112,500-163,000 seeds/kg) [18], with a reported average of 61,000 seeds
per pound (134,500 seeds/kg) [16]. Seeds of Brewer spruce require a
stratification period of 30 to 90 days [14,16]. Germinations rates vary
from 50 to 96 percent, with an average of 88 percent [16,18].

Germination is epigeal and occurs on loose soil from upturned roots,
decaying logs, forest humus, and leaf litter under brushfields.
Seedlings are unable to survive strong sunlight and are sensitive to
high moisture stress and temperatures of exposed sites. First season
epicotyl height growth is less than 0.24 inch (6 mm). Further growth is
slow, but it appears to be faster on south-facing montane chaparral
[18]. Saplings and pole-sized Brewer spruce average 6 inches (0.15 m)
in annual height growth [18].
  • 14. Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]
  • 2. Atzet, Thomas; Wheeler, David L. 1982. Historical and ecological perspectives on fire activity in the Klamath Geological Province of the Rogue River and Siskiyou National Forests. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 16 p. [6252]
  • 16. Safford, L. O. 1974. Picea A. Dietr. spruce. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 587-597. [7728]
  • 18. Thornburgh, Dale. 1990. Picea breweriana Wats. Brewer spruce. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 181-186. [13383]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: phanerophyte

Phanerophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: tree

Tree

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Plant Response to Fire

Brewer spruce recovery from fire is generally slow. Seedlings are
unable to survive strong sunlight and are intolerant of moisture stress
[18]. The recovery of Brewer spruce from the extensive fires of 1987
may take decades or centuries [18]. Atzet and Wheeler [2], however,
reported that light fires may stimulate seeding or germination of Brewer
spruce.
  • 2. Atzet, Thomas; Wheeler, David L. 1982. Historical and ecological perspectives on fire activity in the Klamath Geological Province of the Rogue River and Siskiyou National Forests. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 16 p. [6252]
  • 18. Thornburgh, Dale. 1990. Picea breweriana Wats. Brewer spruce. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 181-186. [13383]

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Fire Ecology

Brewer spruce is not fire resistant; the thin bark, drooping nature of
the branches, and shallow root system make it sensitive to fire
[17,18,23]. Fire sensitivity appears to have limited the range of
Brewer spruce [18]; it is largely confined to fire-resistant open
forests on north-facing slopes or rocky ridges [17,23].
  • 17. Sawyer, John O.; Thornburgh, Dale A. 1977. Montane and subalpine vegetation of the Klamath Mountains. In: Barbour, Michael G.; Major, Jack, eds. Terrestrial vegetation of California. New York: John Wiley & Sons: 699-732. [685]
  • 18. Thornburgh, Dale. 1990. Picea breweriana Wats. Brewer spruce. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 181-186. [13383]
  • 23. Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. 1977. Northwest trees. Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers. 222 p. [4208]

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Reaction to Competition

Brewer spruce is tolerant of shade at  all ages and is very competitive. In the Abies magnifica zone on  mesic to xeric sites, it is more competitive than mountain hemlock,  Port-Orford-cedar, white fir, Douglas-fir, Alaska-cedar, incense-cedar,  sugar pine, western white pine, ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, and  Jeffrey pine. California red fir is considered slightly more competitive  on mesic sites because of its faster height growth and longer lifespan.

    Brewer spruce is well adapted to growth at cool temperatures during the  growing season. Its light compensation point is less than 2 percent of  full sunlight. Brewer spruce can withstand considerable soil drought but  is extremely sensitive to high evaporation demands. The stomata close  under high evaporation, halting photosynthesis (17).

    Brewer spruce is best managed on mesic sites characterized by the  presence of Sadler oak. It grows best in mixed-species stands with  uneven-aged management.

    Brewer spruce can be planted under montane chaparral dominated by Sadler  oak, huckleberry oak, and greenleaf manzanita. It has the ability to grow  well under competition for soil moisture and light.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Rooting Habit

Brewer spruce has a shallow root system on all  soils; however, on deeper soils, a few vertical roots may extend several  meters in depth.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: tree

Strobilus buds appear in early summer, accompanied by the shedding of
pollen, at which time the conelets are receptive. The male strobili
develop from axils of needles of the previous year's shoots. After
pollenation, the strobili dry and fall from the tree and the conelets
turn down and mature over the summer, into September and October.
Dissemination follows immediately [18].
  • 18. Thornburgh, Dale. 1990. Picea breweriana Wats. Brewer spruce. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 181-186. [13383]

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Reproduction

Vegetative Reproduction

Layering has no been observed in  natural stands of Brewer spruce Artificial propagation is best from seed  (10).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Seedling Development

The germination of Brewer spruce is  epigeal, seedlings becoming established on all types of natural seedbeds:  decaying logs, forest humus, loose soil from upturned roots, and leaf  litter under brush fields. Throughout the range of Brewer spruce, natural  regeneration is abundant under dense Brewer spruce-white fir stands. These  stands contain an average of 1,360 Brewer spruce and 3,460 white fir  seedlings per hectare (550 and 1,400/acre) less than 15 cm (6 in) in  height. Brewer spruce seedlings cannot survive strong sunlight. The  shallow, slow-growing root system causes the seedlings to be susceptible  to the high moisture stress and temperatures of exposed sites. Brewer  spruce seedlings are usually lacking in clearcuts, even when these are  adjacent to stands containing large cone bearing trees.

    Seedlings are small, with four to seven cotyledons Initial growth is  slow; the epicotyl height growth is less than 6 mm (0.24 in) the first  season.

    Subsequent growth of seedlings is slow but quite variable. Under dense  stands, the age of seedling 1.37 m (4.5 ft) tall ranges from 27 to 82  years Brewer spruce seedlings growing in south-facing montane chaparral  were from 25 to 40 years old when they were 1.37 m (4.5 ft) tall. Small  Brewer spruce survive overstory removal.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Seed Production and Dissemination

Seed production starts when  the trees are from 20 to 30 years old. Actual production has not been  determined. Observations indicate that mature Brewer spruce trees are fair  seed producers; crops occur at 2-year intervals, and some trees produce  cones each year.

    The seeds are 3 to 5 mm (0.1 to 0.2 in) long; the wing is four times as  long as the seed. The seeds are the largest of the North American spruces:  134,500/kg (61,000/lb), with a range of 112,500 to 163,000/kg (51,000 to  74,000/lb). The relatively large wing aids dissemination of the seed by  the wind. Cones and seeds do not appear to be a preferred food for  rodents.

    Seeds may be stored for 5 to 17 years in sealed containers at low  temperatures, 1° to 3° C (33° to 38° F), at a moisture  content of 4 to 8 percent. A cold, moist stratification of 30 days  increases germination. Germination of sound seed ranges from 50 to 96  percent; the reported average is 88 percent (15).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Flowering and Fruiting

Brewer spruce is monoecious. Strobilus  buds form in early summer and develop in the fall. The dark purple male  strobili are borne the following spring in axils of needles of the  previous year's shoots, on branches throughout the tree. The  pollen-bearing strobili are from 19 to 32 mm, (0.75 to 1.25 in) long and  about 13 mm (0.5 in) in diameter. Pollen is shed in early summer; the male  strobili dry and fall soon after pollen is shed. Female strobili are borne  at the tips of primary branches in the upper two-thirds of the crown. They  develop into erect, dark green, cylindrical conelets that are 38 mm (1.5  in) long and 13 mm (0.5 in) thick when receptive. The female conelets are  apparently receptive at the time pollen is shed. The location of female  and male flowers throughout the tree, concurrent with timing of strobilus  development, apparently encourages selfing of Brewer spruce located singly  or in small, isolated stands. After pollination, the conelets turn down  and mature the same season into dark brown cones 8 to 15 cm (3 to 6 in)  long. The fruit matures from September to October; dissemination  immediately follows.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Growth

Growth and Yield

After the seedling stage height growth of  Brewer spruce is slower than its common associates, Douglas-fir, white  fir, red fir, and western white pine. In several stands in the Siskiyou  Mountains, annual height growth of sapling and pole-size Brewer spruce  averaged 0.15 m (0.5 ft).

    Most mature stands of Brewer spruce consist of a wide range of ages and  sizes. Numerous stands contain Brewer spruce up to 117 cm (46 in) in  diameter, the largest 125 cm (49.3 in) in d.b.h. and 48.8 m (160 ft) in  height. The biggest Brewer spruce listed by the American Forestry  Association (1) has a circumference of 4.17 m (13.67 ft) at 1.37 m (4.5  ft) above the ground and is 51.8 m (170 ft) tall; it is located in the  Siskiyou National Forest in southwest Oregon. The general structure of a  mixed species, all-aged stand (Sadler oak habitat type) is shown in table  1.

    Table 1- Stand structure of mixed species, all-aged  Brewer spruce stands (Sadler oak habitat type)          Diameter class  Brewer spruce  White  
fir  Red  
fir  Douglas- 
fir  Western white pine  Sugar  
pine            cm  trees/ha      3 to 29  430  506  82  69  -  -      30 to 59  114    32  27    2   7  -      60 to 89    17    15  15  -  2  -      90 to 119      2  -    7  -  -  -      120+  -  -    2    2  -  2      in  trees/acre      1 to 11  174  205  33  28  -  -      12 to 23    46    13  11    1  3  -      24 to 35      7      6    6  -  1  -      35 to 47      1  -    3  -  -  -      47+  -  -    1    1  -  1              Little volume or yield information is available for these Brewer spruce  stands. The total basal area of the few stands sampled averages 47 m²/ha  (205 ft²/acre), with a current annual increment of 2 m²/ha (9 ft²/acre)  (15).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Genetics

Little if any variability has been observed throughout the restricted  range of Brewer spruce. In the eastern Klamath area, Brewer spruce grows  adjacent to Engelmann spruce without hybridization (12).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Picea breweriana

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Picea breweriana

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 7
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

Reasons: Very limited in distribution, occurring only in southwestern Oregon and adjacent northern California, but considered locally abundant within its range.

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
A3c+4ac; B1ab(ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(ii,iii,iv,v)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Nelson, J. & Farjon, A.

Reviewer/s
Thomas, P. & Stritch, L.

Contributor/s

Justification
Whereas only a modest overall decline of the population has been reported, the extent of occurrence and area of occuoancy fall within the thresholds for Vulnerable (20,000 km² and 2,000 km² respectively) and it is only known from 6-8 locations. There has been a recent decline which is expected to continue. Forest fires are an ongoing threat; these could increase if climate change caused longer spells of drought and fires would intensify. Especially the smaller, isolated su-populations would be at risk. It is therefore projected that further decline will result, and this species therefore meets the criterion for Vulnerable under A3, A4, B1 and B2.

History
  • 1997
    Rare
    (Walter and Gillett 1998)
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Population

Population
Brewer spruce has restricted geographic and elevational ranges, but is ‘not as rare as the literature suggests.’ (Griffin & Critchfield, 1972). NatureServe ranks it as a G4, “ Very limited in distribution, occurring only in southwestern Oregon and adjacent northern California, but considered locally abundant within its range.”(NatureServe, 2010) However, NatureServe last ranked this species in 1999, before several large fires killed substantial subpopulations of Brewer spruce

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Comments: Logging.

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Major Threats

SUMMARY: The biggest threats are a combination of fire and climate change, especially where fire kills a population of the trees and climate has been altered sufficiently to preclude successful regeneration. (Skinner, C. Pacific Southwest Research Station, pers. comm. 2011.)

Thin bark and long weeping branches make Brewer spruce susceptible to fire. Areas predictably occupied by Brewer spruce are limited to fire-resistant open forests on north-facing slopes or rocky ridges. The increased potential of forest fires and inability of Brewer spruce seedlings to tolerate high moisture stress may result in its rapid extinction. Global warming could threaten the existence of Brewer spruce. (Thornburgh, 1990)

A series of major forest fires in 1987 burned throughout the range of Brewer spruce. Most of the small, pure stands on north slopes were not damaged. In the more prevalent mixed stands, low-intensity ground fires killed the Brewer spruce and white fir [Abies concolor], but the thick-barked Douglas-fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii], pines, and California red fir [Abies magnifica] survived. The recovery of Brewer spruce may take decades or centuries because of the extent of these fires. The 2002 Biscuit Fire of southwest Oregon, burned through Babyfoot Lake Botanical Area and killed most of the Brewer spruce within the area. Although some mature seed producing trees survived on rocky slopes near the edges of Babyfoot Lake and near Hungry Hill, the post-fire environment within the botanical area is generally unfavorable for Brewer spruce regeneration. Brewer spruce seedlings are typically unable to survive in strong sunlight and are intolerant of moisture stress. Additionally, Brewer spruce seedlings have a difficult time competing with other much faster growing conifer species such as Douglas fir and white fir. A paucity of Brewer spruce seedlings have been located during surveys of the botanical area post-fire.

In Rock Creek Butte Research Natural Area, California, the entire population of rare Brewer spruce burned during a 2008 wildfire. Climate envelope modeling for this species suggests that there will no longer be favorable habitat for Brewer spruce in the future of California, and therefore restoration is not appropriate. However, after a fire is the best time to attempt regeneration and establish a refugium for Brewer spruce in its current native habitat (Cole et al, 2010).

Other Damaging Agents- The shallow root system of Brewer spruce makes it more susceptible than its associates to windthrow. In some areas, the high incidence of root rot (Heterobasidion annosum) further lowers its resistance to wind (Thornburgh, 1990).

On commercial timber land, this species is logged when mixed in with other conifers, but is not sought after specifically.

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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions

Much of the existing range of Brewer spruce is currently in federal ownership--The best developed stands are located on high ridges and upper valleys of the Klamath, Shasta-Trinity, and Six Rivers National Forests of California and in the Siskiyou and Rogue River National Forests of Oregon. It also occurs in two Research Natural Areas—Rock Creek Butte RNA on the Klamath NF of California (burned in 2008), and the Brewer Spruce RNA on Bureau of Land Management Land in Oregon.

In addition the Indian Creek Brewer Spruce Special Interest Area was established on Klamath NF, and the Babyfoot Lake Botanical Area on Rogue-Siskiyou NF included substantial Brewer spruce, which burned in 2002. Brewer spruce occurs in the Trinity Alps and Marble Mountain Wilderness Areas (federal) and in Castle Crags State Park, California.

In Rock Creek Butte Research Natural Area, California, the entire population of rare Brewer spruce burned during a 2008 wildfire. Climate envelope modeling for this species suggests that there will no longer be favorable habitat for Brewer spruce in the future of California, and therefore restoration is not appropriate. However, after a fire is the best time to attempt regeneration and establish a refugium for Brewer spruce in its current native habitat (Cole et al, 2010).

Existing stands of Brewer spruce could be protected from wildfire to some degree by fuel reduction treatments around their perimeters. Fine scale climate modeling may identify suitable habitats where this species could be maintained in refugia.

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Management considerations

More info for the terms: basal area, mesic, presence

Brewer spruce is best managed on mesic sites that are characterized by
the presence of Sadler oak (Quercus sadleriana). Brewer spruce growth
is best in mixed stands with uneven-aged management [18]. Natural
regeneration of Brewer spruce is good under dense white fir-Brewer
spruce stands, but it does not regenrate as well in open conditions [3].

Little information on volume or yield of Brewer spruce is available.
The average total basal area of a few sampled stands is 205 square feet
per acre (47 sq m/ha), with an annual increment of 9 square feet per
acre (2 sq m/ha) [18].

Artificial propagation is best from seed. Some spruce seeds have been
stored without loss of viability for periods of 5 to 17 years [16].
Safford [26] describes methods of seed extraction and storage and
nursery practice.

Cooley spruce gall adelgid (Adelges cooleyi) is common in Brewer spruce
but does little harm. Seed chalcids (Megastigmus spp.) have been
observed in mature seeds of Brewer spruce. Parasitism by dwarf
mistletoe (Arceuthobium campylopodum) has been observed in 36 percent of
local populations. Brewer spruce is more susceptible to windthrow than
its associates because of its shallow root system. Shallow roots also
result in high incidences of root rot (Heterobasision annosum) in some
areas [18].
  • 3. Atzet, Thomas; Wheeler, David L. 1984. Preliminary plant associations of the Siskiyou Mountain Province. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. 278 p. [9351]
  • 16. Safford, L. O. 1974. Picea A. Dietr. spruce. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 587-597. [7728]
  • 18. Thornburgh, Dale. 1990. Picea breweriana Wats. Brewer spruce. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 181-186. [13383]

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Wood Products Value

The wood of Brewer spruce is soft, heavy, and close grained [14]. The
branching habit of Brewer spruce results in the wood having many knots,
and it has little commercial value. Trees that are harvested are often
mixed with other trees for use as low grade lumber [18].
  • 14. Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]
  • 18. Thornburgh, Dale. 1990. Picea breweriana Wats. Brewer spruce. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 181-186. [13383]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

Brewer spruce provides excellent wildlife habitat [4]. Cones and seeds
of Brewer spruce do not appear to be a preferred food for rodents [18].
  • 4. Atzet, Tom; Wheeler, David; Riegel, Gregg; [and others]
  • 18. Thornburgh, Dale. 1990. Picea breweriana Wats. Brewer spruce. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 181-186. [13383]

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Other uses and values

In Europe, Brewer spruce is considered a popular ornamental [18].
  • 18. Thornburgh, Dale. 1990. Picea breweriana Wats. Brewer spruce. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 181-186. [13383]

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Special Uses

The wood of Brewer spruce has no special uses. Harvested trees are  normally mixed with other species and utilized as low grade lumber. In  Europe, it has been considered one of the most popular of all ornamental  conifers (10).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Wikipedia

Picea breweriana

Picea breweriana (Brewer's weeping spruce or just Weeping spruce) is a species of spruce native to western North America, where it is one of the rarest on the continent, endemic to the Klamath Mountains of southwest Oregon and northwest California. The specific epithet breweriana is in honor of the American botanist William Henry Brewer.[2][3]

DNA analyses[4][5] have shown that Picea breweriana has a basal position in the Picea clade,[4] suggesting that Picea originated in North America.

It grows at moderately high altitudes, from 1000–2700 m.[6][7][8][9][10]

It is a large evergreen coniferous tree growing to 20–40 m tall, exceptionally 54 m, and with a trunk diameter of up to 1.5 m. The bark is thin and scaly, and purple-gray in color. The crown is very distinct, distinguished by level branches with vertically pendulous branchlets, each branch forming a 'curtain' of foliage. The pendulous foliage only develops when the tree grows to about 1.5–2 m tall; young trees smaller than this (up to about 10–20 years old) are open-crowned with sparse, level branchlets. The shoots are orange-brown, with dense short pubescence about 0.2 mm long and very rough with pulvini 1–2 mm long.

The leaves are borne singly on the pulvini, and are needle-like, 15–35 mm long, flattened in cross-section, glossy dark green above, and with two bands of white stomata below.[6][7] The cones are longer than most other North American spruces, pendulous, cylindrical, 8–15 cm long and 2 cm broad when closed, opening to 3–4 cm broad. They have smoothly rounded, thin, flexible scales 2 cm long. The immature cones are dark purple, maturing red-brown 5–7 months after pollination. The seeds are black, 3–4 mm long, with a slender, 12–18 mm long pale brown wing.[6][7]

P. breweriana grows very slowly, typically less than 20 cm (8 in) per year. It occurs mainly on ridgetop sites with very heavy winter snow to provide a steady source of meltwater through the spring, but dry in the summer. The harsh ridgetop conditions minimize competition from other much faster-growing trees like Douglas-fir. It is very well adapted to cope with heavy snow and ice loads, with tough branches, and the drooping branchlets shedding snow readily.[6][7][11]

Outside its native range, P. breweriana is a highly valued ornamental tree in gardens, particularly in Great Britain and Scandinavia, where it is appreciated for its dramatically pendulous foliage.[7] This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nelson, J. & Farjon, A. (2010). "Picea breweriana". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 3.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Ornduff, Robert (2008). "Thomas Jefferson Howell and the First Pacific Northwest Flora" (PDF). Kalmiopsis 15: 32–41. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  3. ^ Hyam, R. & Pankhurst, R.J. (1995). Plants and their names : a concise dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 392. ISBN 978-0-19-866189-4. 
  4. ^ a b Ran, J.-H., Wei, X.-X. & Wang, X.-Q. 2006. Molecular phylogeny and biogeography of Picea (Pinaceae): Implications for phylogeographical studies using cytoplasmic haplotypes. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 41(2): 405–19.
  5. ^ Sigurgeirsson, A. & Szmidt, A.E. 1993. Phylogenetic and biogeographic implications of chloroplast DNA variation in Picea. Nordic Journal of Botany 13(3): 233–246.
  6. ^ a b c d Farjon, A. (1990). Pinaceae. Drawings and Descriptions of the Genera. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3-87429-298-3.
  7. ^ a b c d e Rushforth, K. (1987). Conifers. Helm ISBN 0-7470-2801-X.
  8. ^ Conifer Specialist Group (1998). Picea breweriana. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 5 May 2006.
  9. ^ Gymnosperm Database: Picea breweriana
  10. ^ US Forest Service Silvics Manual: Picea breweriana
  11. ^ Frank Lang's Nature Notes: US Forest Service ecology and the naming
  12. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Picea breweriana". Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Common Names

Brewer spruce
weeping spruce

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The currently accepted scientific name of Brewer spruce is Picea
breweriana Wats. [14,18,19]. There are no recognized subspecies or
varieties. Brewer spruce grows adjacent to Engelmann spruce (Picea
engelmannii), but no hybridization between the two has been observed
[18].
  • 19. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573]
  • 14. Munz, Philip A. 1973. A California flora and supplement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1905 p. [6155]
  • 18. Thornburgh, Dale. 1990. Picea breweriana Wats. Brewer spruce. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 181-186. [13383]

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