Herb: Yezo Spruce

Latin name: Picea jezoensis

Family: Pinaceae (Pine Family)

Medicinal use of Yezo Spruce:


Description of the plant:


35 m
(115 feet)

Habitat of the herb:

High mountains in N. Japan. Mountains and river basins at elevations of 300 - 1700 metres.

Edible parts of Yezo Spruce:

Young male catkins - raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring. Immature female cones - cooked. The central portion, when roasted, is sweet and syrupy. Inner bark - dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails. Seed - raw. Too small and fiddly to be worthwhile unless you are desperate. A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips.

Other uses of the herb:

A resin obtained from the trunk of the tree is used medicinally. Tannin is obtained from the bark. An essential oil is obained from the leaves. Wood - soft, light, elastic, flexible. Used for interior finishes, furniture etc. It is also valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper. The timber is used for construction, machines, poles, furniture, and wood pulp.

Propagation of Yezo Spruce:

Seed - stratification will probably improve germination so sow fresh seed in the autumn in a cold frame if possible. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. A position in light shade is probably best. Seed should not be allowed to dry out and should be stored in a cool place. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. They can be planted out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year, or be placed in an outdoor nursery bed for a year or so to increase in size. They might need protection from spring frosts. Cuttings of semi-ripe terminal shoots, 5 - 8cm long, August in a frame. Protect from frost. Forms roots in the spring. Cuttings of mature terminal shoots, 5 - 10cm long, September/October in a cold frame. Takes 12 months. Cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, early summer in a frame. Slow but sure.

Cultivation of the herb:

High mountains in N. Japan. Mountains and river basins at elevations of 300 - 1700 metres.

Known hazards of Picea jezoensis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.