Picea alcoquiana 'Howell's Tigertail'
Common Name: Alcock's spruce 
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Pinaceae
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer


Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates some light shade and clay soils. Intolerant of most air pollutants. Avoid planting in exposed sites where winds may dry out plant.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Picea alcoquiana (synonymous with Picea bicolor) is an evergreen conifer that is native to a limited but stable number of subalpine forest areas in the mountains of central Japan. It will grow over time to as much as 80' tall with a broad pyramidal form and spreading branches. It was collected by John Gould Veitch on an ascent of Mt. Fuji-yama in September of 1860. It was originally given the species name of alcoquiana and the common name of Alcock spruce in honor of Sir Rutherford Alcock (British minister to Tokyo from 1858 to 1862) who accompanied Veitch on the climb.

Genus name is reportedly derived from the Latin word pix meaning "pitch" in reference to the sticky resin typically found in spruce bark.

Specific epithet honors Sir Rutherford Alcock.

'Howell's Tigertail' is a spreading flat-topped form that will eventually develop a central leader unless the leader is pruned out. If the leader is retained, plants may grow in an irregular pyramidal form to 4-6' tall over the first 10 years and eventually mature to 20' tall or more. Without a leader, plants grow much shorter. Bicolor needles are green on top and silver-blue beneath. Cones emerge an attractive reddish-purple. 'Howell's Dwarf Tigertail' is synonymous with 'Howell's Dwarf'.


No serious insect or disease problems. Generally susceptible to a number of problems, however, the most common of which are spider mites, aphids, budworm, bagworm, borers and pine needle scale.


May be used at the edge of the border or rock garden, or as a screen, or as a foundation plant or specimen around the home.