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Picea sitchensis

Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carrière

Sitka Spruce

Pinaceae (Pine Family)



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

The world’s largest spruce, with tall, straight trunk, from buttressed base, and broad, open, conical crown of horizontal branches. Sitka spruce is usually a 50-100 ft. tree with wide spreading, rigidly branched and drooping branchlets. It can be much taller. Bark is scaly and dark red-brown. Needles are green on the lower surface, white above.

The main timber tree in Alaska, Sitka Spruce produces high-grade lumber for many uses and wood pulp for newsprint. Special products are piano sounding boards, boats, and food containers. It was formerly used in aircraft construction.


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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 250 feet tall. Often much shorter.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Brown

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May


USA: AK , CA , OR , WA
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: Pacific Coast region from s. AK through w. B.C. to n.w. CA
Native Habitat: Moist to swampy coastal areas

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Moist to wet soils.
Conditions Comments: Susceptible, especially in the Pacific Northwest, to defoliation by red spider and to malformation by spruce gall.


Description: Sitka spruce is propagated from seed which is slow to germinate. Cuttings root in low percentages.
Seed Treatment: No treatment is necessary, but seeds may benefit from 1-3 month stratification.
Commercially Avail: yes

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.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA

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


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

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