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Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Picea glauca (White spruce)
Makin, Julie

Picea glauca

Picea glauca (Moench) Voss

White Spruce

Pinaceae (Pine Family)

Synonym(s): Picea canadensis

USDA Symbol: pigl

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

White spruce is a conical evergreen, up to 100 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.


From the Image Gallery

40 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 100 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Red, Brown

Bloom Information

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


USA: AK , CT , ID , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MT , NH , NY , PA , RI , SD , VT , WI , WY
Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NL , NS , NT , 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: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Drought Tolerance: High
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)

Columbia silkmoth
(Hyalophora columbia)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA


Description: Propagate by seeds or cuttings taken in late July.
Seed Treatment: Seed require no pretreatment.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Privacy hedge for South Dakota
August 08, 2008
Hi, I'm looking for something to use as a hedge. 8 foot or so tall offering semi privacy all year. I like dogwoods but loss of leaves in the winter makes me skeptical. Boxwood would be interesting...
view the full question and answer

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.


Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2019-08-19
Research By: TWC Staff

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