A tree 100 to 120, sometimes 200 ft high, with horizontal branches, but perfectly pendulous branchlets; young shoots stiff, pale grey, shining, not downy; buds conical, often resinous, up to 1⁄2 in. long. Leaves arranged all round the twigs (rather more thinly beneath), standing out at an angle of about 60°; they are quadrangular, rigid, needle-like, with prickly points, 11⁄2 in. long, often slightly curved, green with a few stomatic lines on each of the four faces. Cones cylindrical, tapered towards the apex, 4 to 7 in. long, 11⁄2 to 2 in. wide, brown when mature; scales broadly rounded and entire at the margin.
Native of the W. Himalaya; introduced to Scotland in 1818 by Dr Govan of Cupar, who received cones from his son in India, which he gave to the Earl of Hopetoun; it is named after Sir James Smith, first President of the Linnean Society. It is distinct from the other spruces in the great length of leaf, and is also one of the most striking from the weeping character of its branchlets, which, perhaps, give it a somewhat funereal aspect. It is subject to injury by spring frost especially in the young state, and will thrive best in a situation shaded from early morning sun. It likes a moist, loamy soil.
An original tree still grows at Hopetoun in West Lothian, Scotland; it measures 90 × 101⁄2 ft (1971), and there are several others in Scotland, slightly younger and of about the same size. A fine example at Taymouth Castle, Perths., measures 112 × 131⁄4 ft (1974). Some of the largest in southern Britain are: Cuffnels, Lyndhurst, Hants, 118 × 101⁄4 ft and 113 × 11 ft (1970); Melbury, Dorset, 108 × 121⁄4 and 111 × 111⁄4 ft (1970); Bicton, Devon, 107 × 101⁄4 ft (1968); Redleaf, Kent, 99 × 101⁄4 ft (1963); West Dean, Sussex, 105 × 9 ft (1973); Bowood, Wilts, 105 × 111⁄4 ft and 106 × 101⁄2 ft (1968); Boconnoc, Cornwall, 100 × 12 ft (1970); Nettlecombe, Somerset, 100 × 9 ft (1971); Bolderwood, New Forest, 111 × 81⁄2 ft (1970).