Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Picea glauca

White spruce

Pinaceae (Pine Family)

Picea glauca (White spruce)
Makin, Julie
White spruce is a conical evergreen, up to100 or more ft. tall, with compact, regular branching. The lower branches sweep the ground and bear whitish-green needles. Small cones are concentrated in the upper crown. Tree with rows of horizontal branches forming a conical crown; smaller and shrubby at tree line.

This is the foremost pulpwood and generally the most important commercial tree species of Canada. As well as providing lumber for construction, the wood is valued for piano sounding boards, violins, and other musical instruments. White Spruce and Black Spruce (Picea mariana) are the most widely distributed conifers in North America after Common Juniper (Juniperus communis), which rarely reaches tree size. Various kinds of wildlife, including deer, rabbits, and grouse, browse spruce foliage in winter.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Cone
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Red, Brown
Size Class: 72-100 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May


USA: AK , CT , ID , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MT , NH , NY , PA , RI , SD , VT , WI , WY
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NL , NT , NS , ON , PE , QC , SK , YT
Native Distribution: Nf. & Lab. to AK, s. to New England, NY, upper Great Lakes, Black Hills & n. Rockies
Native Habitat: Mesic, upland, woods; moist slopes; river banks

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Dry
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist loam or alluvium, though tolerant of many soil types.
Conditions Comments: White spruce is susceptible to trunk and root rot, salt spray, spruce bagworm, and other insect pests. It is, however, one of the most tolerant spruces for wind, heat, cold, drought, and crowding, and is the most amenable native spruce for eastern landscape use. Best in full sun. Becomes stunted in sub-alpine zones.


Use Wildlife: Twigs, leaves and seeds are important wildlife food. Very valuable as nesting sites for birds.
Use Other: An important timber tree in Canada. The wood is used extensively by the pulp and paper industry. (Kershaw)
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Columbia silkmoth

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Picea glauca is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Columbia silkmoth
(Hyalophora columbia)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2013-10-12