Picea glauca (Moench) Voss

white spruce

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

White spruce hails from northern climes and is one of the first tree species to colonize after glaciers recede. The waxy coating on its needles gives them a blue-green (glaucous) appearance, hence the specific epithet (glauca). White spruce is the most commercially important timber species in the far north woods, used for wood fiber, house logs, and musical instruments. It was an important fuel source for early colonists and native americans of the north woods. It provides cover for moose, martens, and lynx.

Habitat

Forests

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Growth form
the plant is a tree
Leaf form
the leaves are needle-like
Leaf cross-section
the needle-like leaves are rounded, or flattened on one side (can be rolled between the fingers)
Leaf arrangement
there is one needle-like leaf per node
Seed cone form
the seed cone is longer than wide, with woody scales attached at the base
Leaf clustering
the needle-like leaves are single, with one per node
Leaves overlapping
the needle-like leaves are separate and do not hide the twig surface
Show All Characteristics
  • Buds or leaf scars
    Winter bud shape
    the winter buds are ovoid (egg-shaped)
  • Fruits or seeds
    Seed cone base
    NA
    Seed cone bracts
    the bracts are covered by the seed cone scales
    Seed cone form
    the seed cone is longer than wide, with woody scales attached at the base
    Seed cone scales
    NA
    Seed cone symmetry
    the seed cone is symmetrical
    Seed cone umbo position
    there is no raised portion on the seed cone scale
    Seed cone umbo spine
    NA
    Seed wings
    the seeds have wing-like projections
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is a tree
  • Leaves
    Leaf arrangement
    there is one needle-like leaf per node
    Leaf base
    the base of the needle-like leaf is narrow (not expanded) at the attachment point
    Leaf clustering
    the needle-like leaves are single, with one per node
    Leaf cross-section
    the needle-like leaves are rounded, or flattened on one side (can be rolled between the fingers)
    Leaf duration
    the needle-like leaves remain green all winter
    Leaf form
    the leaves are needle-like
    Leaf glands
    there are no glands on the underside of the needle-like leaves
    Leaf stalks
    the needle-like leaves do not have a leaf stalk
    Leaf types
    there is only one type of needle-like leaf on the twig
    Leaves overlapping
    the needle-like leaves are separate and do not hide the twig surface
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    forests
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Bark resin blisters
    the bark has small resin blisters on it
    Branchlet thickness
    2–4 mm
    Leaves on shoots
    the needle-like leaves do not grow in tight clusters on a short, knob-like shoot
    Twig bloom
    the twig has bloom on it
    Twig hair type
    the twigs have few or no hairs on them
    Twig hairs
    the twig does not have hairs
    Twig winter color
    brown

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Maine
widespread (S-rank: S5)
Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes and no (some introduced)

Sometimes Confused With

Picea rubens:
both species with minutely hairy branchlets that lack bloom and seed cone scales minute teeth along the apical margin (vs. P. glauca, with branchlets that lack hairs and have a thin layer of bloom and seed cone scales that are entire along the apical margin).

Synonyms

  • Picea canadensis (P. Mill.) B.S.P.
  • Pinus glauca Moench

Family

Pinaceae

Genus

Picea

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

2.  Picea glauca (Moench) Voss n

white spruce. Picea canadensis (P. Mill.) B.S.P.; Pinus glauca Moench • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. 
Mesic forests, sometimes also found in other hydrologic regimes, occasionally a dominant conifer in maritime habitats. This species is naturalized in CT, MA, RI.