Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The White Spruce - Picea glauca

The White Spruce - Picea glauca, (also Canadian Spruce, Skunk Spruce or Cat Spruce) is a medium to large sized evergreen tree that can reach heights of over 100 feet tall.  White Spruce is a commercially important tree, it wood is light weight, straight grained and resilient.  The lumber of the White Spruce is harvested for both lumber and pulpwood.  Mainly found in Canada it's growth range enters the northern United States from Minnesota through Maine.  

Image Citation: Bill Cook, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org

The bark is light brown is thin with a whitish inner layer.  The leaves are in the form of four sided needles, blue green in color with white lines on the bottoms.  The needles appear to grow on top of the branches as they sharply turn upward and wrap around the twigs blending in with the ones growing on the upper surface.  When crushed the needles release a pungent or foul odor. The sticky sap often oozes from the surface.  

Image Citation: Joseph OBrien, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

The White Spruce is the state tree of South Dakota.  White Spruce is a favorite Christmas tree variety in the North Eastern United States, it is considered to have one of the best "wild" or "natural" appearance.  Though the needles are poorly retained once the tree is cut, the limbs are thick and hold even heavy ornaments very well.

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