Who doesn’t love a firefly?

Six years ago I had an opportunity to spend a few weeks in the midwest. This was my first extended visit to that region of the country, and it was the first time I had seen fireflies in action. I remember it was sunset and we were walking along a path which followed the Mississippi river. All of a sudden we began to see soft little lights blinking on and off. There were only a few at first but as we continued along the path, and the light became more dim, the little blinking lights became greater in number. The seven year old girl who was the most excited of our guides that evening caught one of the little critters so that we could get a closer look. Fascinating.

A year later I wrote a blog post about a fascinating new plant that my friends at Iseli had been observing for many years. In that post, I described how a large tree had developed seeds, those seeds were collected and germinated and the resulting seedlings were observed for many years. One of those exciting seedlings has been selected by Iseli Nursery and is ready to find its way into gardens all across the USA and Canada.

Picea orientalis ‘Firefly’ is an exciting new dwarf version of the Skylands spruce. Great color, hardy, slow growing and just darned cute!

Picea orientalis ‘Firefly’ has been under evaluation at Iseli Nursery for over twenty years. A few years ago it was selected out of a batch of seedlings and the propagation process began. First only a few small pieces of scion wood were available to graft and make new trees. As time went on, each new propagation would grow and yield scions of its own. Eventually, enough cuttings could be taken across all of the crops to produce a reliable number of new trees per year. The time has now come for Iseli to begin marketing this exciting new tree and ship it to independent garden centers all across the continent.

Growing at approximately one third the rate of its mother tree (Picea orientalis ‘Skylands’), ‘Firefly’ will become a stunning, bright yellow, small specimen tree – perfect in today’s smaller gardens. A garden featuring a ‘Firefly’ and other colorful dwarf conifers will be filled with interesting color, form and texture all year long.

Who wouldn’t love to have a Firefly in their own garden?

Ed-
Conifer Lover

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7 thoughts on “Who doesn’t love a firefly?

  1. Does it burn like Skylands? Some of the other dwarf seedlings seem to burn worse than Skylands.

    Skylands actually remains quite dwarf in the upper midwest unless in premium, protected locations.

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    1. Like many spruce with bright golden foliage, I have seen the upper needles of ‘Firefly’ sunburn in full sun. I have also seen that a little shade can prevent sunburn and the tree will retain its bright yellow color. Although I have seen some sunburn, it was not enough to damage the plant or distort its growth or make it unsightly.

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    2. In the mid-west, Kansas City, ‘Skylands’ took two years of screening with shade cloth to acclimate. It has been free ranging now for six years. Never any issues.

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    1. The original ‘Firefly’ seedling is now 22 years old. It stands seven feet tall and four feet wide at its base. I believe it would be safe to expect around six inches of terminal growth per year on plants that become available.

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