Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the July 26, 2009 Newsletter, describing a backpacking trip on the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail in Red Buttes Wilderness Area, Siskiyou County, California:

Just beyond the slope mantled with Huckleberry Oak chaparral we entered cool forest again where one of the most distinctive and eye-pleasing trees I've seen appeared, a tall, slender spruce with drooping branches heavy with pendant cones. You see it below:

Brewer or Weeping Spruce, PICEA BREWERIANA

That's the Brewer or Weeping Spruce, PICEA BREWERIANA, yet another species endemic to the Klamath Mountains of southwest Oregon and northwest California. Despite the fact that typically it grows less than eight to twelve inches a year (20-30 cm) it reaches up to 130 feet tall (40 m) in height. Ecologically it specializes in ridge-top sites with very heavy winter snow, but which are dry in the summer. The tree's dangling branches enable it to shed what otherwise might be limb-breaking loads of snow and ice.

In northern western Europe Brewer Spruces are much planted because they are so beautiful, yet survive the harsh winters there.