White Spruce (Picea glauca)

  • Needlebearing
  • Evergreen

White spruce (Picea glauca) is the northernmost tree species in North America. White spruce is of major economic importance in Canada for its wood, which is used in paper-making. White spruce wood is the provincial tree of Manitoba and the state tree of South Dakota.

  • Alternate Common Name: Canadian spruce, skunk spruce, cat spruce, Black Hills spruce, western white spruce, Alberta white spruce, and Porsild spruce
  • Average Height: White spruce are conical, medium sized trees reaching up to 90 feet tall.
  • Average Width: Most often 10-20 feet wide.
  • Leaf Description: White spruce has evergreen needles, stiff, 1/3 to 3/4 inch long, square in cross section. Needle tips are pointed, but not sharp. When crushed, a pungent odor is apparent (some say similar to cat urine). Green to gray-green. Each needle is borne on a raised, woody peg (sterigma).
  • Bark Description: White spruce bark is thin, gray-brown in color, smooth, later flaky or scaly.
  • Twig Description: White spruce twigs are slender, light brown or pale, sometimes glaucous, hairless. Needles borne on woody pegs.
  • Flowering: Monoecious; males emerge reddish but turn yellow when shedding pollen; females purple.
  • Needle or Broadleaf: Needle bearing
  • Comments: Picea glauca (white spruce) is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting.

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