Sitka spruce

sitka spruce tree

Named after the city of Sitka in southern Alaska, this conifer is one of the most important tree species of the forest industry in Britain today.

The Sitka spruce - also known as Pica sitchensis - is able to adapt to a wide variety of site conditions and its high yield, especially in the wetter western regions, makes it our most successful upland plantation species.

botanical drawing of sitka spruce tree, bark and branch

Facts about Sitka spruce

Uses: This is a versatile timber, with smaller trees being of particular value for paper making because of their fibre length and white colour. It is also used in the manufacture of different types of board. Sawlog material is used for pallets and packing cases with the better grades used for building.
Seeds: Light brown cones have thin papery scales with crinkled edges.
Leaves: Flattened solitary needles on pegs have a slatey-blue tint and sharp points.
Bark: Greyish-brown which when mature, and flakes off in round scales.
Height: Grows up to 55 metres developing drooping branches but can reach 100 metres and is the 5th largest conifer in the world.
Lifespan: 600 years
Natural range: West coast of North America, from Alaska to California