This spruce is distributed from Uzbekistan to Xinjiang spanning a range of about 1000 km. For our Conifers Around the World, we included a main (habit/habitat) photo that was taken in Xinjiang in 1998. The dark purple closed cones were also documented there.
To document this tree in Sikkim, in late fall 2003 we started our journey together with botanist friend and tour leader dr. Mohan Siwakoti from Kathmandu. From the capital of Nepal we took a flight to Birathnagar, from there took a jeep ride to Kakarvitta (a border town between Nepal and India) and then to Gangtok, capital of Sikkim (state of India).
Juniperus semiglobosa is a common juniper in the high mountains of Central Asia and we have sufficiently documented it for our Conifers Around the World (see page 353). However, it was noted by us in a 2003 expedition to Kyrgyzstan that it is variable species requiring more study in the future.
Our first encounter with this species takes us back to 1980, the time of the first exploration of Turkey's conifers. That time we went there in the autumn, and had pleasantly summer-like days.
It took us 6 years to be able to arrange a conifer-focused botanical exploration in Tibet. With financial help from I.D.R.I. this visit was organized through cooperation with colleagues at the National Herbarium, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, from where 4 colleagues accompanied us with local guidance from the Tibetan Plateau Ecological Institute, Lhasa.
On continental Europe, this juniper reaches the westernmost stretches of the Mediterranean coast, in Portugal growing under the mild and rather wet atlanto-mediterranean climatic conditions while in the east of its range occurring in the dry coasts of Sinai and western Arabia.
Based on our field explorations in southern Chile, we found this species quite rare in natural habitats. One such location was Cerro Ñielol, a miraculously saved Valdivian type of laurel-leaved forest near the city of Temuco.
For our team the most memorable documentation of Thuja plicata occurred in the Pacific Northwest in a magnificent old-growth forest in the Olympic Peninsula. In the northwest, this tree can reach enormous sizes (exemplified by Quinalt Lake Cedar, height 53 m and trunk about 6 m in diameter, b.h.; data published by Robert Van Pelt, 2001).
On a recent trip to Turkey our team was driving through the Toros mountains in the Akseki region. As the road was ascending the vegetation changed according to elevation and exposure, from mediterranean maquis to high-mountain mixed deciduous/evergreen shrub-forests and scrubs (pseudomaquis).
If one goes on the web to search for information on the plant under the name Abies gamblei, very little descriptive account will be found. And, interestingly enough, there will be some small-scale photos actually showing Abies pseudochensiensis!