Picea orientalis 'Skylands'
Common Name: oriental spruce 
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Pinaceae
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 10.00 to 35.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 12.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates some light shade. Prefers rich, moist soils, but tolerates some poor soils including rocky ones. Although established plants have some drought tolerance, soils should be kept consistently moist and not allowed to dry out in the early years. Generally prefers cool climates and will usually struggle in the heat and humidity of the deep South. Site in locations protected from strong winter winds when growing in the northern parts of the growing range (USDA Zone 4).

The yellow foliage of 'Skylands' often appreciates some part afternoon shade in hot summer climates.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Picea orientalis, commonly called oriental spruce, is a medium to large, densely-branched, narrow-pyramidal evergreen conifer that typically grows in cultivation to 50-70' tall. It is native to mountain areas from the Caucasus to Turkey. Flattened, glossy, dark green needles (to 1/2" long) are shorter than the needles of other species of spruce. Small pollen bearing (male) cones are red. Seed bearing (female) cones (to 4" long) are purple maturing to brown. Bark may exfoliate with age.

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 means of the Orient.

'Skylands' is slow-growing, upright, conical-pyramidal form that typically grows 8-10' tall over the first 10 years. Over time, it may eventually reach 35' tall with a spread of 10-12' wide. Exterior needles are bright yellow in full sun or yellow-green in part shade. Regardless of sun exposure, the yellow needle color typically tends to fade as the summer progresses. Interior needles are green. Foliage may burn in full sun locations in hot summer climates. Attractive red pollen cones in spring provide interesting and showy contrast with the yellow foliage. 'Skylands' was introduced into commerce by Skylands Botanical Garden in New Jersey in 1979. Synonymous with Picea orientalis 'Aurea Compacta'.


No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to needle cast, canker and rust. Watch for aphids (particularly spruce gall aphids), scale, budworms and bagworms. Spider mite invasions can cause significant problems with new growth and overall tree health. Foliage may brown in cold winter winds.


Attractive yellow leaved evergreen conifer for the landscape. Excellent accent/specimen.