Native to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbian spruce, Picea omorika, is known from a specimen of fewer than 1,000 trees. Before the ice ages, the native range of the Serbian spruce spread across the majority of Europe. Over many years, its range has diminished dramatically in part due to fire, overexploitation, and competition from Norway spruce and Oriental beech. The Serbian spruce now has one of the smallest ranges of any spruce in the world.
The Serbian spruce is highly valued as landscape tree, and has many cultivated forms available. It is used as a Christmas tree in addition to being grown for timber and paper production. Though the species was logged until the early 20th century, the few remaining small stands are protected. Because the current habitat is so limited, continuing and expanding protection of the existing habitat is essential to the conservation of this species. The wild population needs to be preserved in order to maintain the genetic diversity; those wild genes may be pivotal in any future battle against disease or pests that may jeopardize the use of the Serbian Spruce in the horticulture and timber industries. Want to help? Plant a Serbian spruce in your backyard or community if you can. Serbian spruce is amazingly adaptable and grows in a huge range of conditions. By planting a tree, you help compensate for loss and fragmentation of the species’ habitat.
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Vanishing Acts: Trees Under Threat was developed and produced by The Morton Arboretum in association with the Global Trees Campaign, a partnership between Fauna and Flora International and Botanic Gardens Conservation International.
Funding for this exhibit comes from The Morton Arboretum and the U.S. Institute for Museum and Library Services, Museums for America Grant Program.