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Blue spruce (Picea pungens)

Blue spruce Synonyms: Picea parryana Sargent

Common Names: Colorado blue spruce, white spruce, silver spruce, Parry spruce, water spruce

Description: Mainly used as a Christmas tree and not for lumber or wood due to its rarity in nature and wood being brittle and full of knots. Michigan DNR suggests not to plant this species due to it being out of range in Michigan and prone to major disease.

Habit: Slow-growing, large tree, up to 50 meters (164 ft.) tall with a long-conic crown, whorled branches and ascending to slightly-strongly drooping.

Leaves: Needles are evergreen, borne singly and at right angles from all sides of the twig, 1.6-3 cm. long, 4 angled, stiff and sharply spine-tipped, silvery to blue-green in color.

Stems: Twigs are not pendent, stout, yellow-brown, usually without hair; many small twigs produced on the main trunk and between main whorls of branches. Bark is thick, gray-brown, breaking into furrows and rounded ridges, only slightly scaly.

Flowers: Ornamentally inconspicuous, concentrated in the upper one-third of mature trees. Monoecious, with staminate flowers orange and in the leaf axils, and pistillate flowers green or pink on the stem termini.

Fruit and seeds: Seed cones are green or violet, ripening pale buff, 6-12 cm. long, ellipsoid, pendent, the scales are elliptic to diamond-shaped, widest below the middle, stiff at the base, the tip is flexible, unevenly toothed, and extending 8-10 mm beyond seed-wing impression.

Habitat: Native to central and southern Rocky Mountain region of the United States. Grows well on stream banks in moist canyon bottoms or on gentle to steep mountain slopes.

Reproduction: Begins to produce seed at about 20 years; and occur between 50-150 years. Good cone years occur at intervals of 2-3 years. Seed germination is mostly confined to exposed mineral soil with side shade and overhead light.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from the USDA NRCS Plant Guide and The Ohio State University Pocket Gardener.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:

Blue spruce

Scientific Name:

Picea pungens







USDA Symbol: