Picea torano (Siebold ex K. Koch) Koehne


Endemic to Japan where the main threat is logging and the replacement of native forests with commercial plantations

Associated Names:

tigertail spruce, hari-momi and bara-momi


Endemic to Japan on the islands of Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku. The extent of occurrence is more than 20,000km²

Habitat and Ecology

Picea torano occurs in (low) mountains at elevations between 400 to 1500 m above sea-level, almost invariably on podzolic soils of young volcanic rocks such as lava flows and tuffs. The climate is cool, moist maritime, with a annual precipitation exceeding 1000mm; the winters are cold and snowy, especially at the higher elevations. There are some small remnants of pure stands left, e.g. at the northern end of Lake Yamanaka, elsewhere it is mixed with Abies homolepis, Larix kaempferi, Pinus densiflora and/or broad-leaved trees, e.g. Betula, Fagus, Acer, Quercus mongolica var. grosseserrata, Prunus maximowiczii, and Zelkova serrata.

Human Uses

Picea torano is uncommon and grows in inaccessible places, therefore it is not an important timber tree. In Japan it is a popular amenity tree, used in gardens and parks. Despite its striking foliage and cones and conical habit in cultivation, it remains an uncommon tree in gardens and arboreta in Europe and is even less common elsewhere outside Japan.

Conservation Status

Global status

Vulnerable A2ce+3ce

Global rationale

The more accessible and large trees have been cut in the past and were replaced by afforestation with different species, e.g. Cryptomeria japonica and Larix kaempferi. Due to the fact that this species is poorly protected, the causes of decline are likely to affect this species further in the future.

Global threats

Large stands of this species have been depleted, but it is widespread and occurs also in mixed conifer/broad-leaved forests from central Honshu southward.

Conservation Actions

One subpopulation is found within a protected area.