Picea aurantiaca is closely related to P. asperata Mast. and P. retroflexa Mast. These taxa have been variously treated as independent species or varieties of P. asperata (Schmidt-Vogt 1977). In Flora of China, Vol. 4: 28 (1999) and in Higher Plants of China, Vol. 3: 37 (Fu et al., 2000) P. aurantiaca is treated as a variety of P. asperata, while other (Chinese) works (e.g. Fu and Jin 1992; Farjon 1990, 1998, 2001) have maintained the species rank, sometimes with P. retroflexa as a variety of P. aurantiaca in which case the populations in Jiuzhaigou would be included in the overall species assessment. A re-examination of relevant collections and populations seems desirable; this should include work on DNA sequences, looking for markers which may help to distinguish species.
A timber tree which may not be recognized as distinct from Picea asperata. It must be logged with this and other spruces and put to the same uses.