Discover the 11 Different Types of Spruce Trees

Written by Abdulmumin Akinde
Updated: October 11, 2022
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In 2021, 92% of houses built in America were wood-framed. A good percentage of these used spruce trees for their construction. The soft wood of spruce trees is often made into building materials. However, they’re also quite popular as ornamental plants in mansions, castles, and houses with gardens. There are different types of spruce trees to serve different purposes. 

For instance, while dwarf spruce trees are often planted to beautify the landscape, tall ones are found in evergreen forests along pines, cedars, and yews and are often cut down for construction and other industrial purposes. The popular Christmas tree that has become a sort of unofficial symbol of the holiday season is a spruce tree. This evergreen conifer has 35 species growing all around the world. Here are 11 common types of spruce trees. 

Blue Spruce (Picea pungens)

Also known as the Colorado Blue Spruce, this North American variety of spruce trees grows natively in places like Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Utah, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Asides from the pyramid shape, which makes it suitable as a traditional Christmas tree, its bluish-green needles also add color to the festive period. In addition to being useful for beautifying indoor spaces, this dwarf evergreen spruce can also be planted outdoors to beautify your garden. They are mostly not taller than 50 ft, with upward-curving waxy-green leaves about 3 cm (1 in) long.

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Blue spruce is most commonly seen in Christmas trees.

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Caucasian Spruce (Picea orientalis)

This oriental tree is mostly used in paper production. Caucasian spruce is also great as a lumber or ornamental tree in your home garden. They grow stunning emerald leaves in spring, but in summer, their short needle leaves are a light-green shade. Although they tend to grow very slowly, they can still reach 145 feet with long slender cones on top of spruce branches.

Brewer Spruce (Picea breweriana)

Brewer spruce is called weeping spruce because of its hanging branches with oval-shaped foliage. They grow sharp-needle-like, broad leaves with a blue-green color. Brewer spruce often grows between 20–40 meters (66–131 ft) tall. Brewer spruce is often grown as an ornamental plant to add beauty to gardens. The dramatically pendulous foliage is the main reason why this tree is so popular as a landscaping plant. 

Norway Spruce (Picea abies)

This pyramid-shaped spruce is excellent for pulp and timber. It is among the fastest-growing spruce trees in many coniferous forests. Another common name for this tree is European spruce because it is native to Europe. Due to its softness and wood quality, people often make stringed musical instruments from Norway spruce. Their dense leaves also make them useful for hedges and windbreaks. Their needle leaves are short, but their seed cones are long. In the right environment, the tall Norway evergreen spruce can grow up to 180 ft. The dwarf variety of the Norway spruce is used indoors as a Christmas tree. 

Norwegian spruce trees are also popular choices as Christmas trees.

©Jovana Pantovic/Shutterstock.com

Red Spruce (Picea rubens)

This tall, evergreen coniferous tree can live for over two centuries in its natural habitat. People often cut the red spruce for timber. The wood of red spruce trees is suitable for construction and house furniture. Red spruce is also common as Christmas tree and is soft enough for crafting musical instruments. It has a pyramid shape with sharp lemon needles and tiny brown cones. Although they are typically medium-sized, they can reach a height of 130 ft. 

Serbian Spruce (Picea omorika)

All spruce trees can grow in wetlands and evergreen forests, but only a few can survive in savannas, semi-deserts, and true deserts like the Serbian spruce. Serbian spruce is a strong evergreen conifer that adds beauty to parks and gardens. They are slender, medium-height, and suitable for ornamental purposes. Their cones are like spindles, and their leaves are dark green. Serbian spruce is known for its columnar growth and can grow to up to 65 feet in its lifetime. 

Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis)

Among the 35 species of spruce trees, Sitka spruce is the largest. Aside from being the largest spruce trees, they also rank 5th in size compared to other coniferous trees. Sitka Spruce is good for making timber. Even in poor soil conditions, they grow faster than other spruce trees. Sitka spruce has long cones with blue-green foliage. Their needle-shaped leaf is 2.5 cm long, and the older trees rarely have branches lower than 100 ft. 

White Spruce (Picea glauca)

White spruce trees thrive in the mid-bleak winter of Canada and Alaska. They are useful to the timber industry, and their woods are essential to many construction projects. This North American spruce tree has long needle-like leaves. Their cones and cylindrical crown are both slender. If the conditions are right, the white spruce can grow up to 100 ft.

White spruce trees thrive in winter and can grow up to 100 feet in height.

©Taiftin/Shutterstock.com

Siberian Spruce (Picea obovata)

The Siberian spruce is famous for paper production. This tree grows mostly in Northwestern Mongolia and Siberia. It is a medium-sized evergreen conifer that has gray-green leaves with drooping branches. Siberian spruce leaves is the main ingredient for making spruce beer. They also have conical-shaped crowns and cylindrical cones. Siberian spruce can reach a height of up to 120 ft.

Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Black spruce isn’t used for making wood and timber for construction like other spruce trees due to the small size of the tree. Instead, they are used as pulpwood and sometimes as cross-laminated timber. The black spruce tree has stumpy purple cones and scaly gray bark. This spruce variety is mostly found in the swampy areas of Alaska, Canada, and North America. Aside from poor wood quality, They also have slow growth but can reach a height of 50 ft. 

Engelmann’s Spruce (Picea engelmannii)

Named after George Engelmann, a German-American botanist. This medium-sized and slender conical tree is dominant on the Northeast coast of America. When cut before they reach full growth, they are ideal as Christmas trees. Mature Engelmann’s Spruce is an excellent material for making musical instruments. This pyramid-shaped evergreen conifer grows slowly. However, the woods are good for construction. Engelmann’s spruce leaves are bluish-green. They appear charming to the eyes, with tiny brown cones at the top of the tree. They can grow up to 100 ft. 

Conclusion

The use of spruce trees is not limited to their construction value; stringed musical instruments like guitar, violin, and harp are made from them. In your garden, they can serve as shades to keep the environment cool or ornamental trees to make your garden attractive. You can also use the different types of spruce trees to make papers, barrels, canoes, and canoe paddles. The specific purpose of the spruce tree often depends on the variety of the plant you’re working with. 

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © A. Blanke/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Abdulmumin is a pharmacist and a top-rated content writer who can pretty much write on anything that can be researched on the internet. However, he particularly enjoys writing about animals, nature, and health. He loves animals, especially horses, and would love to have one someday.

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Sources
  1. Sara Malone, Available here: https://conifersociety.org/conifers/articles/10-types-of-spruce-trees-everyone-should-know/
  2. Luke Miller, Available here: https://www.familyhandyman.com/list/types-of-spruce-trees/
  3. Vanessa Richins Myers, Available here: https://www.thespruce.com/twelve-spruce-trees-and-shrubs-3269669