Conifer ConesColor in the garden is sometimes found in the oddest place. One does not always look at the end of a conifer branch to find beauty. These three small cones are perched at the end of the branch of a very small conifer - Picea abies "Pusch". The needles of the conifer look like most any conifer, but the cones in the spring are outstanding. There cones contain the seeds of this plant, brightly colored, but eventually turning a dry brown. This small drawf growing evergreen is a springtime jewel. While some are looking for blooming bulbs and bright flowering azaelas, I have found interest in this display of red cones.
Slow growing to about 2'x3', likes well drained soil, and a sunny location. Because it is zone 3 hardy, it will be ok in most climates, and in my zone 6 will do just fine in a container. I purchased this plant from Bob Fincham's nursery in Washington - Coenosium Gardens
Picea abies 'Pusch'
Picea abies 'Pusch' is a witches broom, found on the parent plant, Picea abies `Acrocona Pusch'. Check it out at Rich Foxwillow Nursery and also in close up photo below.
The two photos (top and below) look very similar, (well some kids do look like their parents) however Pusch is a very dwarf almost basketball sized conifer ( and will stay small), Acrocona is about 6x6 irregular shape, growing larger and more irregular, considered an intermediate conifer. In comparison the cones on the parent plant (see below) are about 2x the size of Pusch above. Either plant is a prize to behold in your garden.
I will go into more detail about witches broom in upcoming post, when I can post best photos. But the short and simple explanation is that the parent plant will begin to grow a branch with a strange twist, or weep or very short growth, like a mutation. When discovered, a branch from the mutation will be removed and grafted to form a new unnamed plant.
It is not surprising that interesting cones can also be found out in the woods. The photo of these cones, some type of fir, were taken while hiking Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park.
Conifer cones are cool!