=Habitat and Range.=--Cool, rich woods, well-drained valleys, slopes of
mountains, not infrequently extending down to the borders of swamps.
Prince Edward island and Nova Scotia, along the valley of the St.
Maine,--throughout: most common towards the coast and in the
extreme north, thus forming a belt around the central area, where
it is often quite wanting except on cool
or elevated slopes; New
Hampshire,--throughout; the most abundant conifer of upper Coos, the
White mountain region where it climbs to the alpine area, and the higher
parts of the Connecticut-Merrimac watershed; Vermont,--throughout; the
common spruce of the Green mountains, often in dense groves on rocky
slopes with thin soil; Massachusetts,--common in the mountainous regions
of Berkshire county and on uplands in the northern sections, occasional
southward; Rhode Island and Connecticut,--not reported.
South along the Alleghanies to Georgia, ascending to an altitude of
4500 feet in the Adirondacks, and 4000-5000 feet in West Virginia;
west through the northern tier of states to Minnesota.
=Habit.=--A hardy tree, 40-75 feet high; trunk 1-2-1/2 feet in diameter,
straight, tapering very slowly; branches longer than those of the black
spruce, irregularly whorled or scattered, the lower often declined,
sometimes resting on the ground, the upper rising toward the light,
forming while the tree is young a rather regular, narrow, conical head,
which in old age and in bleak mountain regions becomes, by the loss of
branches, less symmetrical but more picturesque; foliage dark
=Bark.=--Bark of trunk smoothish and mottled on young trees, at length
separating into small, thin, flat, reddish scales; in old trees striate
with shallow sinuses, separating into ashen-white plates, often
partially detached; spray reddish or yellowish white in autumn with
minute, erect, pale rusty pubescence.
=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds scaly, conical, brownish, 1/3 inch long.
Leaves solitary, at first closely appressed around the young shoots,
ultimately pointing outward, those on the underside often twisting
upward, giving a brush-like appearance to the twig, 1/2-3/4 inch long,
straight or curved (curvature more marked than in P. nigra),
needle-shaped, dark yellowish-green, 4-angled; apex blunt or more or
less pointed, often mucronate; base blunt; sessile on persistent
=Inflorescence.=--May. Sterile flowers terminal or axillary on wood of
the preceding year, 1/2-3/4 inch long, cylindrical; anthers pinkish-red:
fertile flowers lateral along previous season's shoots, erect; scales
madder-purple, spirally imbricated, broader than long, margin entire or
=Fruit.=--Cones; single or clustered, lateral along the previous
season's shoots, recurved, mostly pointing downward at various angles,
on short stalks, falling the first autumn but sometimes persistent a
year longer, 1-2 inches long (usually larger than those of P. nigra),
reddish-brown, mostly ovate; scales thin, stiff, rounded; margin entire
or slightly irregular.
=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy throughout New England; adapts itself to a
great variety of soils and lives to a great age. Its narrow-based
conical form, dense foliage, and yellow green coloring form an effective
contrast with most other evergreens. It grows, however, slowly, is
subject to the loss of its lower branches and to disfigurement by
insects. Seldom offered in nurseries.
1. Branch with sterile flowers.
2. Stamen, front view.
3. Stamen, side view.
4. Branch with fertile flowers.
5. Cover-scale and ovuliferous scale, outer side.
6. Ovuliferous scale with ovules, inner side.
7. Fruiting branch with cones of two seasons.
10. Cross-sections of leaves.
=Picea alba, Link.=
Picea Canadensis, B. S. P.