Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carrière

Sitka Spruce

A narrow conical to columnar tree to about 50 m tall. Bark dark brown, scaly. Young shoots pale brown to orange or yellow. Buds 4-5 mm long, ovoid, rounded or pointed, sometimes resinous. Leaves 1.5-2.5 cm long, flattened, tapering, stiff and prickly (tips rounded on coning branches), dark green and ridged above, blue below with two pale bands; overlapping and pointing forwards above, parted below. Cones cylindric, 4-9 cm long, yellowish at first becoming pale brown; scales thin and papery, narrowly oblong with irregularly toothed margins. Seed 2-3 mm long, black, with wing 1 cm long.

Grows naturally on coastal wet, sandy or swampy soils and moist rocky slopes. A huge specimen in the wild on Vancouver Island has attained 95 m, by far the tallest spruce species. One of the few conifers that will tolerate some salt spray and soil salinity and one of the most widely cultivated spruces in south-eastern Australia.

W North America.

Flat, blue-green prickly leaves with strong ridge on upper surface and two pale blue bands below; yellowish young cones.

Page & Hollands (1987).

NSW: Batlow (Pilot Hill Arboretum); Mt Tomah (Bot. Gds); Sydney (Royal Bot. Gds). VIC: Ballarat (Bot. Gds, outstanding tree); Barramunga (Colac High School Camp, 2 trees c. 35-40 m tall); Beechworth (Queen Victoria Park); Creswick (Forestry School); Erica (side of highway); Daylesford (Wombat Hill); Fernshaw (Reserve 30 m ptd c. 1939); Forrest (Dept. Consn &Natural Resources Office c. 20 m tall); Healesville (Graceburn Weir, the state's longest spruce avenue, leading to the weir, mixed ages); Korumburra (Public Park); Mt Macedon ('Alton'; 'Hascombe' and other properties); Packenham; Melbourne (Royal Bot. Gds, near entrance to Herb Garden); Silvan Dam (several c. 20 m tall).

Source: Spencer, R. (1995). Pinaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 1, Ferns, conifers & their allies. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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Distribution map

Picea sitchensis 'Aurea'

Large broadly conical tree with dense, yellowish foliage. Grows 3-4 m in 10 years. America, listed for Coenosium Gardens, Aurora, Oregon in 1989.

Picea sitchensis 'Papoose'

Dwarf, flat-topped. Origin Canada, found on Vancouver Island and given to Parks Dept Victoria in 1970s.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Pinopsida
order     Pinales
family      Pinaceae
genus       Picea A.Dietr.