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Explore With Us Some Marvelous Spurce Tree Facts

Spruce Tree Facts
Owing to their size and fast-paced growth, spruce trees have been a subject of fascination for mankind for ages. As you go through the spruce tree facts compiled here, you'll get to know a lot more about this species.
Abhijit Naik
Last Updated: Apr 2, 2018
Did You Know?
Old Tjikko, a 9,550-year old Norway spruce tree in Sweden, is considered the oldest-living clonal tree in the world.

Spruce trees are coniferous evergreen trees found in the northern temperate and taiga regions of the Earth. These trees are predominantly characterized by their exceptional height―with some species growing on to attain a height of 200 to 220 feet―whorled branches, and conical shape. Spruce trees have several uses; they are primarily used for making furniture and for interior decoration. Additionally, some varieties of spruce are used for making musical instruments. Even the way-familiar Christmas tree used during the Yuletide season belongs to the spruce family.
Facts about Spruce Trees
» The spruce family, i.e., genus Picea, consists of thirty-five species found on the planet. Of these, seven are found in North America; they are the Black spruce (Picea mariana), Colorado spruce (Picea pungens), Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens var. glauca), Norway spruce (Picea abies), Serbian spruce (Picea omorika), Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), and the White spruce (Picea glauca).

» The earliest known fossil of genus Picea is a pollen from the Paleocene epoch, recovered from Montana, United States. As there is no fossil evidence to show the presence of this genus in Asia before the Oligocene epoch and Europe before the Pliocene epoch, scientists have come to the conclusion that genus Picea is of North American origin.

» The average growth rate of these conifers is 6 to 11 inches per year. There do exist some exceptions in the form of fast growing spruce species, like the Sitka spruce, Norway spruce, and Colorado blue spruce. In fact, the Sitka spruce―with a growth rate of 60 inches per year―can go on to attain a height of 160 to 220 feet in its lifetime. Norway spruce, on the other hand, has a growth rate of 30 inches per year, while Colorado blue spruce has a growth rate of 13 inches.

» It's not just the growth rate or height of spruce species that make the genus so fascinating. Some species of spruce can attain a width of up to 20 feet at full growth. Such trees are often used to make tree houses for kids. Additionally, the wood of several spruce varieties is used to make a range of musical instruments.

» Spruce trees are vulnerable to a disease known as Rhizosphaera needlecast, wherein the tree experiences premature needlecast, i.e., fall of its needle like leaves. Additionally, these trees are also vulnerable to problems like salt injury, wherein the branches start getting damaged starting from below, and frost injury, wherein the late spring frost damages the tender new growth.

» Spruce trees are home to several insect species; prominent ones being the Cooley spruce gall adelgid, Eastern spruce gall adelgid, Spruce spider mite, Douglas-fir tussock moth, Cytospora canker spruce, Needle miner, and Spruce budworm.

» Several species of spruce are enlisted as threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). One of the most prominent examples of the same would be the Martinez spruce (Picea martinezii), which is critically endangered with less than a few hundreds remaining in the wild. Similarly, the Chihuahua spruce (Picea chihuahuana), which was only discovered in 1942 by renowned Mexican botanist, Maximino Martínez, is also considered endangered with roughly about 25 populations in the wild.

Some Interesting Facts
» The Sitka spruce is one of the few species that are known to reach a height of 300 feet. Other than being the largest spruce species, it also boasts of being the fifth largest and third tallest conifer in the world.

» The tallest Norway spruce, on the other hand, is the 207-feet tree located at the Perucica Virgin Forest, Sutjeska National Park, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

» The word 'spruce' is derived from the French word 'Pruce' meaning Prussia, from where these trees are believed to have originated.

» In order to quench their thirst, early American Indians used to chew the frankincense, the gum-like resin that formed on spruce tree bark when it was cut.

» Spruce trees are the loftiest among the European trees, with a height in the range of 125 to 150 feet―even 180 feet at times―and an average diameter of around 6 feet.

» The Norwegian people gave the Norway spruce as a token of appreciation of British friendship during the World War II.

» The Brewer's weeping spruce (Picea breweriana) has been named in the honor of American botanist, William Henry Brewer.

» Schrenk's spruce (Picea schrenkiana) has been named in the honor of Alexander von Schrenk, a Baltic German naturalist known for his expeditions of Asia.

» Similarly, Burmese spruce (Picea farreri) is named after Reginald Farrer, the plant collector who is known to have traveled extensively in Asia.

» Spruce species are the state trees for four US states: Alaska (Sitka spruce), Colorado (Colorado blue spruce), South Dakota (Black hills spruce) and Utah (Blue Spruce).

Several spruce tree species are used as ornamental trees in large gardens in various parts of the world. These include the Caucasian spruce (Picea orientalis), Morinda spruce (Picea smithiana) Sikkim spruce (Picea spinulosa), and the Koyama's spruce (Picea koyama). In fact, species like the Meyer's spruce (Picea meyeri) are being promoted in the United States, wherein they will be used to replace the disease-prone Blue spruce.