Serbian Spruce - Picea omorika
Native to the Serbia/Bosnia region, this now endangered species is down to its last 3,500 to 5,000 mature individuals in its small native geographical area.
This relic species needs full light to thrive and prosper and it normally grows alongside Norway spruce. However, it was almost wiped out after the last Ice Age when the Norway spruce population exploded in its limited growing region.
In 2007 (and again in 2010), as part of the Bedgebury Conifer Conservation Programme, a joint seed-collecting expedition was set up between the Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh and Bedgebury. The seeds from those expeditions gave us vital knowledge about this species and working with local tree experts has moved this tree from a vulnerable status to endangered. This is the only expedition to date where the risk assessment included danger from landmines!
This was one of the first trees planted at Bedgebury and we have now planted over 250, all from wild collected specimen. The seed has also been stored in the Millenium Seed Bank Partnership to help its conservation.