Picea glauca (White Spruce)

Forming dominant stands in regions of Canada, White Spruce are very slow-growing conifers that hybridize extensively and entirely with Engelmann Spruce.

Picea glauca (White Spruce)
Family: Pinaceae
Subspecies: completely hybridizes with P. engelmannii, var. albertiana (prominent pegs (known as sterigma)), var. porsildii (smooth bark with more resin present), var. glauca, ‘Densata’ (dwarf), ‘Conica’
Native: northern United States and Canada
Hardiness Zones: 2-6
Height: to 30 meters
Diameter: trunk to 1 meter in diameter, to 10 meters in width
Root System: shallow
Growth Rate: slow (first year seedlings under 3 centimeters, 6 year seedlings under 50 centimeters tall)
Age: begins noticeable seed production around 30 years old, exceeds 200 (or even 300) years of age
Deciduous: no
Monoecious/dioecious: monoecious (separate male and female cones on same plant)

Tolerates: extremely cold winters, browsing
Problems (major): spruce budworm, fires kill non-mature trees and burn roots
Problems (minor): spruce cone maggot, fir cone worm, spruce seed moth, red squirrel (severely reduced seed crop success), air pollution (hinders growth)
Poisonous: no
Soil requirements: prefers moist, nutrient-rich, well-drained soils with copious non-decomposed organic material (sometimes 40 centimeters deep), tolerant of partial clay
Air requirements: dislikes air pollution (not fatal, although inhibiting)
Watering requirement: moderate, tolerant of dry (frozen) conditions
Sun requirement: full sun (tolerant of partial shade when young)
Leaves: sharp green-blue needles, 2 centimeters long, buds dull brown to bright orange, 4-sided, stomates on each surface
Cones (male): reddish, turning green, to 3 centimeters long, May-July
Cones (female): initially purple turning brown-orange, to 8 centimeters long
Seeds require stratification: yes, requires 2-3 months of cold stratification
Seed dispersal: wind (eaten by squirrels and other small rodents), ripen in August-September
Form: conical or spire-like
Trunk: gray-brown
Notable characteristics:
In their native habitats (including Quebec), these sometimes form pure stands with few neighboring Abies balsamea, Picea rubra, Picea mariana, Betula papyrifera, Populus tremuloides, and Populus balsimifera. These trees are the climax community in many arboreal and north temperate regions. These, like Norway Spruce (P. abies), may reproduce by layering.

The wood is prized in production of boards, cabinets, and camping equipment. These are ecologically important in Canada as winter cover and food. However, the needles are very sharp and unpalatable to most creatures. These propagate readily from root cuttings.
Sources used:

New foliage



All of the images provided were taken by me. They may be used for educational/informational purposes only, provided that this article/online journal is appropriately cited first.


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