A tall tree in the wild, of very slender habit; the branchlets are greyish white, glabrous or nearly so; the leaves arranged all round the twig, spine-tipped in young trees, blunter in adult ones, 3⁄4 to 11⁄4 in. long, quadrangular, dark green, with two to four very indistinct lines of stomata on all four surfaces. Cones 3 to 4 in. long, cylindrical; scales rounded, and not toothed at the apex.
Native of Central Asia in the Djungarski Alatau and Tianshan (S.E. Kazakhstan), extending into Chinese Turkestan and said also to occur as far east as Kansu; discovered by Schrenk in 1840 and introduced to cultivation in western Europe around 1878. It was at first considered to be near to P. obovata, but Kent noted that the trees in Veitch’s nursery, raised from the original seed, bore a very strong resemblance to P. smithiana of the Himalaya, and that is now considered to be the nearest ally of Schrenk’s spruce. But the leaves of the latter are shorter than in P. smithiana and the radial arrangement is not so marked. Also, in cultivated trees of P. schrenkiana the branchlets are not pendulous, though they are said to be so quite frequently on wild trees. A tree at Bayfordbury, Herts, pl. 1907, measures 50 × 31⁄2 ft (1973).