The Golden Spruce

BC History recounts the amazing story of a proud, majestic and beautiful tree, the Golden Spruce – Picea sitchensis ‘Aurea’. Growing on Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands), its fame extended internationally, with people coming to view it from many parts of the world until this 300-year-old unique tree was cut down in 1997. Scrawny in size, but immense in history, the little tree described in the article below, is now living in the Gardens at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific (HCP) where it moved in October 2017. It is a direct descendant of that famous tree, grafted from a branch of the original Golden Spruce, onto Sitka Spruce rootstock (which is the green vertical branch that you see). Because this tree was grafted from a lower branch of the original tree, it lacks the hormone needed to make one branch turn upwards to form a dominant vertical “leader”. Therefore, it can only form a bush, rather than the typical triangular shape of normal trees. The lack of chlorophyll (green) in the golden needles means that they sunburn easily and then some can drop off. This is why it needs to grow in a shaded spot. To our knowledge, this is the oldest surviving direct descendant of the original tree, but all others are the same shape as this tree, resembling a bush. The full story of the...

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