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Common Name

Norway spruce

Scientific Name

  Picea abies (Linnaeus) Karsten (Pinaceae, Pinales)

Inventory Numbers: 673 673 519 539 541 544 556 632

Norway spruce (Picea abies) is a medium to large evergreen tree with ascending branches and drooping twigs. Needles are rigid and dark green. Their cross-section is square. Twigs are stout, orange brown, and usually naked. Cones are long and narrow with scales pointed and slightly toothed. Native to Europe, the Norway spruce is extremely common in cultivation with hundreds of cultivars. Widely planted for its commercial value (the most used softwood and pulpwood tree in Europe) and stately garden features. Also used for Christmas tree in Europe. The genus name arises from the Latin word pix meaning “pitch” in reference to the sticky resin typically found in spruce bark. The specific epithet refers to the genus Abies (fir). The wood of the Norway spruce is relatively light weight but also inflexible and therefore well suited for the fabrication of musical instruments. Stradivarius used wood of Norway spruces from the Italian Alps known for their exceptional stiffness to build his famous violins in Cremona .

Specimen Provenance:

Common name: Norway spruce

Species Origin: Europe

New Jersey Status: USDA Introduced

Habit: 164’ tall x 50’ wide; bole 2’diameter. Narrowly conical. Its horizontal branch develop in time an upswept appearance.

Habitat: Zones 3 – 7. Mountan forests on damp soil.

Trunk/Stem: Red brown to gray fine scaly crusts.

Leaves: Evergreen, needle-like. Needles slender, rigid, ¾” long, four-sided with a sharp point at the tip, dark green smooth with white stripes; attached to tan, smooth brown shoots. Needle covered branches hang like drapery from larger branches. The needles have a camphor-like scent when crushed.

Flowers: Monoecious. Male flowers opening yellowish-golden and cluster at the shoot tips; female flowers purple-red are often positioned higher up on the tree. Both upright clusters separately on the same plant in spring. Male flower sheds after releasing pollen.

Fruits and seeds: A cylindrical brown hanging cone, 6” long made of fine scales with cut-off or toothed tip. Mature cone is tapering and curved.