Picea mariana ‘Cape Breton’

Botanical Name: Picea mariana ‘Cape Breton’

Common Name:
Tear Drop Black Spruce

Plant Hardiness: Zone 3


Bloom Time:

Foliage: Short blue-green needles


Habit: Very compact habit forming an upright mound. The plant will throw a slow growing leader that gives it a tear drop shape (and its common name)

Size: The original plant is almost six feet tall after 15 years

Sun Exposure:

Native Habitat: Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Other Features:



Description: This is another plant that was given to me by Tom Dilatush. It was found on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia on a high, wind swept hill. The branches laying on the ground had rooted and produced a small colony on the down wind slope. ‘Cape Breton’ is an upright, but very wide, finely textured Spruce. It is very compact, and when about 2 feet in height and 18 inches wide, it tends to form a tear drop shape. One of our customers asked me when we were going to start selling our ‘Tear Drop Spruce’. The original plants have become a bit wider, but they still produce a very slow growing leader. It is hard to describe this plant in words for it is different than any of the other dwarf Spruce we’ve seen in its habit of growth. I think it is going to be a good one. It is not in the trade and we have not sold very many as yet, but we are grafting a fairly good number because I think it will be a very popular plant once it gets to be known. If you visit the nursery, make sure you ask to see it for we have a nice one across from the office. Picea mariana, of course, is Black Spruce, a native of the far North, although it does seem to be able to take the temperatures of Zone 6 or 7 quite well. It is one of the two species of Spruce one finds in inland Alaska (the other being Picea glauca – White Spruce). Up there, it grows in the areas where there is permafrost and, therefore, the upper layer of soil is wet, boggy and cold in the summer. The trees in this situation are unbelievably ugly. It’s hard for me to relate this beautiful little compact variety that we are starting to grow with the trees I saw up there on the permafrost.