NE. Afghanistan to C. Himalaya as per WCSP;
Afghanistan: Hindu Kush; China: Xizang (Tibetan Himalaya); W Himalaya: Himachal Pradesh, Karakoram, Kashmir Himalaya, Uttar Pradesh, Nepal as per Catalogue of life;
English: West Himalayan Spruce; NW Himalaya: Rai, Rau, Re, Riar, Kachal, Kachhlu, Salla, Tos; Garhwal & Kumaon: Roi, Rhai, Ragha, Kathela, Kandre, Morinda; Kashmir: Kachul, Rayil;
One plant with which we can confuse Cedrus deodara in India is Picea smithiana whose leaves look similar but short shoots with clustered leaves are lacking and cones are drooping.
Both have non flattened almost spirally arranged leaves. They can however be easily distinguished on the basis of dwarf shoots in Cedrus and their absence in Picea. They are also lighter coloured in Picea.

Picea smithiana, the Morinda Spruce or West Himalayan Spruce, is a spruce native to the western Himalaya and adjacent mountains, from northeast Afghanistan east, India to central Nepal. It grows at altitudes of 2,400-3,600 m in forests together with Deodar Cedar, Blue Pine and Pindrow Fir.

Picea smithiana is a large evergreen tree growing to 40-55 m tall (exceptionally to 60 m), and with a trunk diameter of up to 1-2 m. It has a conical crown with level branches and usually pendulous branchlets.
The shoots are pale buff-brown, and glabrous (hairless). The leaves are needle-like, the longest of any spruce, 3-5 cm long, rhombic in cross-section, mid-green with inconspicuous stomatal lines. The cones are broad cylindric-conic, 9-16 cm long and 3 cm broad, green when young, maturing buff-brown and opening to 5-6 cm broad 5–7 months after pollination; the scales are stiff and smoothly rounded.
Morinda Spruce is a popular ornamental tree in large gardens in western Europe for its attractive pendulous branchlets. It is also grown to a small extent in forestry for timber and paper production, though its slower growth compared to Norway Spruce reduces its importance outside of its native range.
The name morinda derives from the tree’s name in Nepalese.
(From  Wikipedia on 12.8.13)

Young male catkins – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring[172]. Immature female cones – cooked. The central portion, when roasted, is sweet and syrupy[172]. Inner bark – dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread[172]. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails. Seed – raw. Too small and fiddly to be worthwhile unless you are desperate[172]. A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips[172].  
The bark is very water resistant and is used for roofing and making water troughs[146, 158]. Small quantities of resin are obtained from between the bark and the wood[146]. Wood – soft to moderately hard. Used in construction, shingles, crates, household purposes etc[146, 272]. It is also valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper[171]. An indifferent fuel but it yields a fairly good charcoal[158]. 
(From PFAF on 12.8.13)

Picea smithiana (Wall.) Boiss.,
Tall tree with drooping branches, radially spreading up to 4 cm long leaves, bright green to dark green in colour and up to 20 cm long female cones.
Photographed from Chakrata and Kashmir


HP, Oct 2014 :: Requesting ID – Pine :: ARKNOV-52 : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (3)
Requesting to please provide ID of this pine captured near Solang, Manali, HP in October 2014.

Picea smithiana I hope

Thanks … for the ID again…
Attaching some more pics of a similar tree found in the same area… do these belong to the same species?
Attachments (3)


Picea smithiana from kashmir : Attachments (2). 5 posts by 4 authors.
Picea smithiana from Kashmir. The trees of Picea and Cedrus sans cones are often confused even by some botanists. Both have non flattened almost spirally arranged leaves. They can however be easily distinguished on the basis of dwarf shoots in Cedrus and their absence in Picea. They are also lighter coloured in Picea.
This one was photographed from Gulmarg on June 20, 2010. 

An interesting tree that I’m seeing here first. Thanks for the pictures.

Thanks for sharing. By any chance if you have a picture of whole tree taken from a distance to share, then I would be grateful.

Common names of Picea smithiana:

English: West Himalayan Spruce
NW Himalaya: Rai, Rau, Re, Riar, Kachal, Kachhlu, Salla, Tos
Garhwal & Kumaon: Roi, Rhai, Ragha, Kathela, Kandre, Morinda
Kashmir: Kachul, Rayil

GYMNOSPERMS FORTNIGHT :: Pine for id from Shimla..Picea?-NS 14 : Attachments (2). 3 posts by 2 authors.
Is this again a Picea sp.??
This one was shot from Shimla..

Yes Picea smithiana
Very good photographs.


GYMNOSPERMS FORTNIGHT :: Picea smithiana?? from Dalhousie and Shimla-NS 12 : Attachments (3). 5 posts by 3 authors.
I am not sure but the shared pics look to me like.. Picea smithiana
please suggest.. these pics were recorded from Dalhousie and Shimla..

Picea smithiana (Spruce; locally called ‘Rai’ in Himachal)

Perhaps this is again Picea smithiana…from Chakrata, August 2013.. please validate..

Nice photographs

West Himalayan Spruce, Picea smithiana (Wall.) Boiss. is locally known as ‘Raga’ / ‘Kala Chiulu’ / ‘Kathela’ in Uttarakhand. It occurs between 2000-3600m altitude and can be a massive tree (21 feet girth and 205 feet high tree was recorded by Osmaston,1927 in Upper Nandakini valley).
Photographed at Naini Tal.



SK1087 18 APR-2018 : 10 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (6) – around 900 kb each.

Location:  Godawari, Nepal  
Date: 18 April 2018
Altitude: 5000 ft.
Habit: Cultivated

Female cones will help in ID

Picea smithiana
But need female cones for confirmation.

The tree is Picea smithiana with male cones. The drooping branches are peculiar in P. smithiana.

Thank you …! Picea smithiana (Wall.) Boiss.

Nepali Names : जुरे सल्ला Jure Sallaa /  झुले सल्ला Jhuse Sallaa


Attached are pictures of Picea smithiana from Simla captured in May 2010.
Requested to please validate ID. 

Nice photograph …


Picea smithiana/ABDEC28 : 4 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (6)

Mingling with our cedars (Cedrus deodara) are some spruce (Picea smithiana) trees. While cedar-wood is one of the most prized for timber, that of spruce is of low quality, used in making packing boxes and planks. Spruce can be identified easily by its drooping branches and individual needles arranged on the stalk (rather than in a bunch on cedar). Though not clear in pictures, spruce needles are quadrangular while cedar’s are triangular in cross-section. Here are some pictures to show the characteristic points. Please correct me if I am wrong.
Himalayan Spruce (Picea smithiana)
Mcleodganj, Dharamshala, HP
12 December 2014
Picea smithiana ……………
Cedrus deodara

Yes, nicely depicted … thanks

I found a cone on this one too. It’s a distant shot but shows the cone clear enough. The cone is similar in appearance to a Pinus wallichiana cone but shorter and more dense.
18 March 2015
Attachments (1)


Picea simithiana from Paddar valley J&K


Gymnosperm Fortnight: Picea smithiana: 101213: GSG-04 : 1 image. 4 posts by 4 authors.
Picea smithiana, the Himalayan Spruce, locally known as ‘Rai’, is usually found naturally growing in association with Abies pindrow, usually occupying drier locales. Photographed in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh.

Beautiful elongated, hanging cones. I have not seen it as pure large stands in Uttarakhand.

Wonderful pictures …
Picea are the Spruces.
Family Pinaceae.
Pinaceae genera :
3 Biggest genera
Pinus : The pines
Abies : The Firs
Picea : The spruces.
Other genera
Cathaya with a single species Cathaya argyrophylla.
Cedrus : The Cedars has 4 species. One is Himalayan
Larix : The Larches
Tsuga : The hemlocks.


Piceae smithiana : 6 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (7)- around 800 kb each.
Picea smithiana
West Himalayan Spruce/ Rai/ Morinda Spruce
Family – Pinaceae
Associated species Pinus wallichiana, Cedrus deodara, Quercus species and Aesculus indica etc.
Photographed at Barot, Himachal Pradesh
Altitude – 2800metres asl
Dated – 6/5/2018


ID Help Needed-Valley of Flowers Trip-Trees- 01 : 7 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (5)
Kindly help me with the identification of this coniferous tree seen between Pulna and Ghangharia in Uttarakhand. Based on the vegetation type and what is commonly seen there, I could narrow it down to the probables which are
1) Picea sp (probably P. smithiana? )
2) Pinus sp (probably P. wallichiana?)
3) Abies sp
I excluded Abies because i guess Abies cones stand up and look very different. My guess is that its either Picea sp or Pinus sp.
I would be greatly indebted if someone could guide me to some good guide on how to identify conifers in the himalayas or if someone could share their knowledge on how to identify conifers especially say a P. smithiana from P. wallichaina

Thanks, … Did your check in efi site?

Yes. I did check the site. I found details on Pinus wallichaina but could find no mention of Picea smithiana. Hence comparison is difficult for me.

Looking at the drawing provided in flora of Pakistan site i feel the images i have sent is of Picea smithiana. Look at the leaf image and the illustrations. Pinus wallichiana should have leaves in clusters of 5 which is not to be seen here. Let me know your thoughts

Thanks a lot … I was searching for “Picea” in the search bar where i was not receiving any results…
This has been confirmed as Picea smithiana from IndianFlora group as well by many experts. I am now convinced that this is indeed Picea smithiana.

Thanks, …, Unfortunately search is not working properly for past few weeks and no action is being taken by Google despite repeated requests. In such a situation, pl. make google search on species + efloraofindia.

Plant for id : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (1)
I would like to know the tree for id. the photo is taken at Khanol near Manali, Himachal Pradesh. Would also like to know other ecological information about the plant.

looks like Cedrus deodar, Deodar tree, but very difficult to give correct id, close up of leaf or cone is required for it

….may be Cupressus torulosa a Gymnosperm

This one is Picea smithiana (West Himalayan Spruce).

Picea smithiana AT/April 2019/01 : 3 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (2)
Picea smithiana
West Himalayan spruce, Morinda spruce
Hindi and local names: Rai
Nov., 2016

what a nice detail of spruce tree’s cones. easily comparable and distinguishable from pine cones

Taken at Guna Pani (8500 ft.) on 7/5/07 in Himachal during Sar Pass Trek. One can see the Male & Female (cones) flowers of the tree in the picture.
For more information, please click on the following link:
This Tit (Black-throated Tit- Aegithalos concinnus) is very sociable, restless & fussy, invariably found in flocks with other birds like leaf warblers, tree creepers, other Tits, White eyes etc. Mainly eats insects, but also tiny seeds & fruits. 

I think tree should be Cedrus deodara as per images and details herein.

It is very likely Picea smithiana, Himalayan Spruce.
Cedar needles are in a bunch and the cones upright.

No, …, I have checked up. Pl. see the details of both in efi site.

Thanks … It’s definitely not Cedrus deodara. The needles are individually arranged in a spiral and cones are drooping, both diagnostic of spruce. Please check.
The link you sent also validates spruce as the most likely candidate.

Thanks, …, You are perfectly right. I do not know why I got so confused.

Picea smithiana : 2 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (2)
Picea smithiana
Male cones and young female cone

Help me to. Identify this Picea sp.: 4 images.
Location: Kupwara j & k

I think Picea smithiana (Wall.) Boiss. as per images and details herein.

Yes … !


SK 3743 June 2023 – Pinaceae: 3 high res. images.

Location:  Baglung, West Nepal 
Date: 30 May 2023
Elevation 2600m.
Habit : Wild

Pl. check


May be
Pl. check.

Not yet sure

Just our team member has confirmed the ID as you have suggested.




The Plant List Ver.1.1  WCSP  Catalogue of life  Flora of Pakistan  FoP illustration  Flora of China  FoC illustration  Annotated checklist of Flowering plants of Nepal  Wikipedia  IUCN Red List (LC)  PFAF

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