Picea pungens or more commonly the Colorado Blue Spruce derives its name from its blue, almost silvery-blue color. In 1939 it was named the state tree of Colorado and ever since then has been called the Colorado Blue Spruce ever since. Picea is derived from the Latin word pix, or pitch, referring to the resin its bark contains, and pungens translates as "sharp-pointed," referring to the needles.
Domain Eukarya: Members of this domain have membrane-bound organelles, have their DNA organized into chromosomes located in a nucleus and are more diverse than any other domain of life. Other domains consist of Archaea and Bacteria.
Kingdom Plantae: Members of this Kingdom have a cell wall made of cellulose, and store their food as starch. They are also photosynthetic which means they are autotrophic, having the ability to produce their own food for energy. Other Kingdoms consist of Animalia, Fungi and Protista
Phylum Coniferophyta: Members of this Phylum have seeds and are vascular, meaning they have vascular tissues which circulate nutrients and resources throughout the plant.
Class Coniferae: This class contains the conifers. These are cone-bearing plants. Their seeds are housed in these cones. Other members include cypresses, firs, kauris, larches, pines, cedars and redwoods.
Order Pinales: Members of this order are woody plants and are comprised mainly of trees. Other members include yews, junipers, redwoods, larches, cedars and pines.
Family Pinaceae: Members of the pine family are almost entirely trees, mostly evergreen. They are monoecious, meaning they have both sets of sex organs on one organism. Pines are also resinous and affiliates have linear, needle-like leaves. Others members include cedars, pines, larches and hemlocks.
Genus Picea A. Dietr.: Spruces
Species Picea pungens
From this phylogeny we can see a close relation between the Spermatopsida (the seed plants, flowering plants, and conifers) and the Archaeopteridales (include genus Callixylon) and Protopityales. Conifers, flowering plants and seed plants also share a near common ancestor with Polypodiopsida (the ferns). More distant relatives of the Spermatopsidae include the Bryophytes (mosses), Anthocerotophytes (hornworts), and the Marchantiomorphae (liverworts).
This phylogenetic tree, the relationship among all spermatopsida is shown. P. pungens, a member of the Conifers, is shown to be most closely related to the Cordaitopsidas. Beyond that, you can see that the Conifers have common ancestors with most of the other spermatopsida, including, but not limited to Ginkgos, Cycads, and Angiosperms (or flowering plants). Among the least related to the Conifers, under the limb of spermatopsida, are the Calamopityaceae (members include B. perplexa) and the Hydraspermaceae. Another relative quite far in relation to the Conifers is Lyginopteridaceae (members include E. polymorpha). Cladistic trees have been created using chloroplast DNA variation as well as molecular data analysis (shown in the cladistic tree below). For more information on this type of work click here.