Friday, February 17, 2017

The Blue Spruce - Picea pungens

The Blue Spruce - Picea pungens, is an evergreen tree native to the Western United States.  The Blue Spruce is also called the Colorado Blue Spruce, Silver Spruce or Colorado Spruce.  It is a very popular landscape tree throughout the majority of the United States even though it is only native to the Western portion.  The Blue Spruce is a large tree that an reach heights of over 100 feet in it's native region, however in the East it grows much more slowly only reaching heights of 30-50 feet in fifty years time.  The tree grows in a pyramidal form, over time it will begin to droop and become more open and irregular in shape.  In urban settings the tree will usually hold it's branches all the way to the ground.  

Image Citation: T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University,

Blue Spruce is a valued ornamental tree and a highly desired Christmas Tree variety.  The dark gray bark is thin and often flaky, the branches are bright orange-brown and covered on all sides with the stiff needles.  The powdery blue needles are 3/4-1 1-/4 inches long, four sided and sharply incurved. It is well known to be the best for needle retention among all of the Christmas tree varieties.  The Colorado Blue Spruce is often sold balled and burlapped as a "live" tree to be planted after the holiday and enjoyed for many years to come.   The needles release a sharp acidic flavor if chewed. The seeds are winged, borne in cones that are cylindrical, except at the very end where they almost taper.  Cones are 2-4 inches long, brown in color, shiny with irregular scaling.  

Image Citation: Elmer Verhasselt,

Fun Fact: The Colorado Blue Spruce is the state tree of both Colorado and Utah.

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