White spruce

Latin name: Picea glauca (Moench) Voss
French name: Épinette blanche
Synonym(s): Skunk spruce, pasture spruce, cat spruce, Canadian spruce

Taxonomic Serial Number: 183295

Leaves

Form

  • Straight, stiff
  • Unpleasantly pungent when crushed
  • Tip pointed but not sharp

Length

  • 15–22 mm

Colour

  • Green to bluish-green
  • Lines of white dots on all sides

Buds

Form

  • Ovoid, blunt-pointed
  • Non-resinous
  • Scales tight-fitting, margins ragged, curled out
  • Outer scales shorter than the bud

Length

  • 6 mm

Twigs

Form

  • Hairless
  • Leaf cushions rounded, grooves open
  • Twigs of seedlings may be hairy

Colour

  • Shiny, light greenish-grey, often tinged with orange or purple

Seed cones (mature)

Form

  • Slender, cylindrical
  • Blunt-tipped
  • Stalkless

Length

  • 3–6 cm

Colour

  • Scales light brown

Structure

  • Scales thin, tough
  • Flexible, close-fitting
  • Outer margin rounded, smooth
  • Mature open cones easily compressed but scales do not break

Timing

  • Cones open in late summer
  • Seeds released from later summer to spring

Seeds

Length

  • Seed 2–4 mm
  • Seed wing 4–8 mm

Bark

Form

  • Smooth, thin when young
  • Becoming scaly with age

Colour

  • Light grey when young, becoming darker grey with age
  • Newly exposed bark salmon pink, silvery

Wood

Uses

  • Wood pulp, lumber
  • Planted for landscape and reforestation

Size

Height

  • To 25 m

Diameter

  • To 60 cm, occasionally larger

Maximum age

  • 200 years

Tree form

Forest-grown

Crown

  • Broadly conical
  • Ragged, irregular, densely foliated
  • Spire-like in northern parts of its range
  • Principal branches bushy, generally horizontal, sometimes sloping downward in the lower part of the crown
  • Tips gradually upturned

Root system

  • Shallow, with many tough, pliable, wide-spreading branch roots

Habitat

Site

  • Grows on a variety of soils and under a wide range of climatic conditions
  • In eastern Canada, invades abandoned farmland
  • Often found at the arctic tree line

Light tolerance

  • Shade-tolerant

Associated species

  • Trembling aspen, white birch, black spruce, and balsam fir

Range

Throughout Canada except the Pacific Coast

Insects and diseases that are found most frequently and/or that cause the most damage in our Canadian forests.

Distribution map - white spruce