Norway spruce

 norway spruce cones

The Norway spruce - or Picea abies - is probably most recognisable as the  traditional Christmas tree found in many of our homes during the festive season.

This tree is a European, but not British, native species. It was widely planted during the early 20th century, but later replaced by the higher yielding Sitka spruce.

botanical drawings of norway spruce

Facts about Norway spruce

Uses: The Norway spruce’s tough and elastic timber, known as ‘white deal’, is used for internal building work, boxes and paper. Its sound transmitting properties make it ideal for certain parts of violins, and sometimes Norway spruce’s timber is referred to as ‘violin wood’. In the past its resin was used as a source of turpentine and pitch, and its twigs for making spruce beer.
Seeds: It has long cylindrical brown cones which hang down.
Leaves: Its needles are pointed mid-green, standing on tiny pegs.
Bark: The Norway spruce has a greyish-brown, smooth bark with a rusty tint.
Height: It is a conically shaped tree reaching up to 40 metres in height.
Lifespan: 200 years
Natural range: Norway spruce grows throughout Europe - from Norway in the northwest and Poland eastward, throughout the mountains of central Europe, southwest to the western end of the Alps, and southeast in the Carpathians and Balkans to the extreme north of Greece. The northern limit is in the arctic.