Norway Spruce

Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
Aidan Houlihan, Alexander Kirov, Devin Moore
Collected Data
Tree shape: 
Date of tree entry: 
33.00 m
Diameter at breast height: 
2.67 m

The Norway Spruce has bark that is thin when the tree is young, but which gradually grows thicker with age. As the tree matures the bark thickens into gray-brown flaky scales.
Twigs & branches
The branches of the Norway Spruce curve upwards, but lower branches may droop downwards as the tree grows older. The branches are small in diameter, then extending to needle-covered twigs.
The branches are covered in 1.5 to 2.5-centimeter long dark green needles. These needles are smooth, stiff and pointed, and may persist for 3-4 years. The needles are simple with an alternate, spiral arrangement.
Reproductive Structures
As a conifer, the Norway Spruce produces both male and female cones in order to reproduce. The male cones are small and reddish and can be found clustered around stems. The female cones of the Norway Spruce are 10-15 centimeters long, elongated and oval in shape, and are green-purple in color until they are pollinated, after which they develop a light brown color. The female cones can be found around the tips of the branches.
The fruits of the Norway Spruce are roughly spherical, smaller than the size of a quarter, dry and brown. They are not eaten by animals. They are released in the mid to late summer and germinate quickly in the soil, typically less than one day.
Natural range of distribution: 
The Norway Spruce is native to the European Alps, with its range extending north into Scandinavia. It was introduced to the British Isles in the 16th century, and then to the Americas in the 19th century. It was planted mainly in the northeastern United States, southeastern Canada, the Pacific Coast, and the Rocky Mountain States. These trees thrive in stands of the same species, or with several others, including beeches and firs. They tend to grow in moderate temperate zones, with rich, well-drained clay/loam soil with moderate moisture content. They have relatively high drought and fire resistance.
Origin, history, and uses: 

The Norway Spruce was first introduced to the Americas sometime in the 18th century, and was distributed across the northeastern United States, upwards into Canada, and also in the Pacific Coast and Rocky Mountain States. This tree has been used historically for windbreaks and shelterbreaks in western prairies, as well as an ornamental species. Famously, the Rockefeller Center in New York City displays an enormous Norway Spruce at Christmas every year, with the tallest standing over 100 feet tall. 

The Norway Spruce is a wind-pollinated gymnosperm, with a monoecious reproductive set-up. This means that the plant has both male and female cones on the same plant. The pollen produced by the male cones is carried by the wind to reach fertilize the female cone. The seeds are then also wind dispersed, often not father than the height of the tree. The seeds germinate shortly after reaching soil. The plant repoductive cycle begins in mid-summer for the Norway Spruce, and then remains dormant through the winter after having released its seeds.

Gilman, E. F., & Watson, D. G. (1984). Picea abies: Norway Spruce Fact Sheet. Southern Group of State Foresters.

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