Sitka Spruce
(Picea sitchensis)
Simple
Needle/Flattened
Needle
Sharp, single

leaves

branch

distribution map

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.

ID check

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.

The greenish-red 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).

Facts

  • It grows very quickly, to yield large amounts of light, tough timber used for building, joinery, box- and paper-making.

  • During World 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

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