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Picea engelmannii (Engelmann's spruce)
Beckers, Eric

Picea engelmannii

Picea engelmannii Parry ex Engelm.

Engelmann's Spruce, Engelmann Spruce

Pinaceae (Pine Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Large tree with dark or blue-green foliage and a dense, narrow, conical crown of short branches spreading in close rows. Engelmann’s spruce is a narrow, spire-like evergreen, usually growing 75-100 ft. tall, sometimes much taller. Its branches descend to sweep the ground and conceal the trunk. The coniferous needles are dark blue-green.

Its resonant qualities make the wood of Engelmann Spruce valuable for piano sounding boards and violins. This species was named after George Engelmann (1809-84), the German-born physician and botanist of St. Louis and authority on conifers.

The species of this plant is named for George Engelmann (1809-1884) who was born in Germany and settled in St. Louis, Missouri, as a young man. He was a physician and botanist, describing especially North American Abies (Firs), Agaves, Cactus (for which he described more than 108 species), Cuscuta (Dodder), Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family), Juncus (Rushes), Juniperus (“Cedar”), Pinus (Pines), Vitis (Grapes), and Yuccas. When he died much of his collection went to Missouri Botanical Garden.


From the Image Gallery

19 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Cone
Size Notes: Up to about 200 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , NM , NV , OR , UT , WA , WY
Canada: AB , BC
Native Distribution: Yukon & B.C. through Rockies to NM, AZ, and northern Mexico & through Pacific states to n. CA
Native Habitat: Mountain forests

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Moist, rich, loamy soils.
Conditions Comments: This tree is widely adaptable but has some insect and disease susceptibility. It is very slow growing.


Description: Seeds of most Picea species germinate promptly without pretreatment. Cuttings root in low percentages.
Seed Treatment: No treatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Web Reference

Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Picea engelmannii in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Picea engelmannii in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Picea engelmannii


Record Modified: 2022-09-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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