The leaves are sharp-pointed,
needle-like, 15-25 mm long, and
flat with 2 conspicuous pale lines beneath. They are green above
and bluish-white beneath. The leaves are on yellow shoots and attached
by short stalks, which remains as pegs when the leaves fall.
Sitka Spruce is
an introduced, evergreen, coniferous
tree which grows up to 45m in height. It is conical in shape, with
the upper branches ascending, but lower branches drooping and heavier.
It has smooth bark which peels off in rounded flakes. It is widely
planted for commercial forestry, on a wide range of soils.
Male and female
flowers are in separate clusters towards the tips of branches near
the top of the same tree (monoecious).
They appear in May and June.
female flowers are in inflorescences
which develop into cones. The male
flowers are yellow.
Woody, light brown,
cylindrical cones are 5-8 cm long,
have crinkled scales and hang downwards.
(They are pendulous).
It grows very
quickly, to yield large amounts of light, tough timber used for
building, joinery, box- and paper-making.
War II the light wood was found to be ideal for the construction
of the famous Mosquito aircraft.
It is a native
of the west coast of North America and was introduced into Britain
in 1831. 'Sitka' comes from Sitka Sound in Alaska