Abies abies (L.) Druce
Abies alpestris Brügger
Abies carpatica (Loudon) Ravenscr.
Abies cinerea Borkh.
Abies clambrasiliana Lavallée
Abies clanbrassiliana P.Lawson
Abies coerulescens K.Koch
Abies communis Lindl.
Abies communis P.Lawson
Abies commutata mucronata Loudon
Abies conica Lavallée
Abies cranstonii Lavallée
Abies dicksonii C.Van Geert ex K.Koch
Abies elegans Sm. ex J.Knight
Abies eremita K.Koch
Abies erythrocarpa (Purk.) Nyman
Abies excelsa (Lam.) Poir.
Abies extrema Th.Fr.
Abies finedonensis Gordon
Abies gigantea Sm. ex Carrière
Abies gregoryana H.Low ex Gordon
Abies inverta R.Sm.
Abies lemoniana Booth ex Gordon & Glend.
Abies medioxima C.Lawson
Abies mínima Lavallée
Abies minuta Poir.
Abies montana Nyman
Abies mucronata Rausch ex Carrière
Abies parvula Knight
Abies pectinata Gilib.
Abies picea Mill.
Abies pumila Voss
Abies subarctica (Schur) Nyman
Abies viminalis Wahlenb.
Abies vulgaris Wender.
Picea alpestris (Brügger) Stein
Picea cranstonii Beissn.
Picea elegantissima Beissn.
Picea excelsa (Lam.) Peterm.
Picea excelsa acuminata Beck
Picea finedonensis Beissn.
Picea gregoryana Beissn.
Picea integrisquamis (Carrière) Chiov.
Picea maxwellii Beissn.
Picea montana Schur
Picea remontii Beissn.
Picea rubra A.Dietr.
Picea subarctica Schur
Picea velebitica Simonk. ex Kümmerle
Picea viminalis (Alstr.) Beissn.
Picea vulgaris Link
Pinus abies L.
Pinus carpatica Gordon & Glend.
Pinus cinerea Röhl.
Pinus clanbrassiliana Lodd.
Pinus excelsa Lam.
Pinus picea Du Roi
Pinus pyramidalis Salisb.
Pinus sativa Lam.
Pinus viminalis Alstr.
Common Name: Norway Spruce
Picea abies is an evergreen tree that can grow up to 30 metres tall.
Norway Spruce is an important timber tree in Europe, where outside the Boreal forest zone most commercial timber is now harvested from plantations or from managed forests in which other trees are suppressed[
]. The plant also has a range of traditional uses as a food, medicine and source of materials. It is grown as an ornamental, many named forms have been developed, many of them dwarf forms[
Picea abies is the most abundant, if not widespread conifer in Europe. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
Most of Europe, excluding the Iberian Peninsular, UK, Nederlands, Belgium, Denmark and southern Russia
Widespread and dominant in Boreal conifer forests in the north of its range, growing in moist sites in montane to subalpine forests in the south; at elevations up to 2,000 metres[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
A very cold-hardy tree when fully dormant, though the young shoots are subject to injury by late frosts[
], though less so than Picea sitchensis[
Likes abundant moisture at the roots, if grown in drier areas it must be given a deep moist soil[
]. Succeeds in most soils including those that are wet cold and shallow, but it is not very wind-firm in shallow soils[
]. Intolerant of chalky or poor acid soils[
]. Tolerates poor peaty soils[
]. Prefers a pH between 4 to 6[
]. Dislikes shade[
] according to one report whilst another says that it is moderately shade tolerant[
]. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution[
]. Resists wind exposure to some degree and is tolerant of saline winds[
Plants have a very shallow root system, which helps them to succeed in soils with a high water table[
A fast growing tree, it is widely planted in cool temperate zones for its wood[
]. Young trees often grow 1 metre or more a year and can sustain an average of 60cm for at least the first 60 years though growth tails off as they grow older[
]. Probably not that long-lived in Britain, about 200 years seems the absolute maximum[
]. In some upland areas, especially over granitic or other base-poor soils, growth rate and health have been seriously affected by aluminium poisoning induced by 'acid rain' pollution[
]. There are many named varieties, almost all of them dwarf forms[
A food plant for many caterpillars[
A very aggressive tree, it is hostile to other trees[
]. Susceptible to attacks by bark beetles so it should be kept away from more valuable trees. A biological control is being introduced (1983)[
This species is susceptible to honey fungus[
Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance[
Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly[
]. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus[
]. The seed is shed in spring[
], the cones release their seed whilst they are still on the tree[
The bruised leaves emit a delicious musky smell[
Young male catkins - raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring[
Immature female cones - cooked. The central portion, when roasted, is sweet and syrupy[
Inner bark - dried, ground into a powder and used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread[
]. An emergency food, used when all else fails.
Seed - raw. Rich in oil and with a pleasant slightly resinous flavour, but too small and fiddly to be worthwhile unless you are desperate[
A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips[
]. These tips are also used in making spruce beer[
The buds, leaves and resin are antibiotic, antiseptic, balsamic, expectorant, sedative[
A pitch, or resin, obtained from the trunk is rubefacient and stimulant[
]. It is used externally in plasters etc for its healing and antiseptic properties[
]. A poultice of the sap or gum has been used in the treatment of boil and abscess pain[
A fairly wind resistant tree and fast growing, it can be planted in shelterbelts to provide protection from the wind[
The dwarf cultivar 'Inversa' can be grown as a ground cover plant in a sunny position[
]. The cultivars 'Reflexa' and 'Procumbens' can also be used[
]. They are best spaced about 1 metre apart each way[
The tree is a source of pitch (Burgundy pitch) and turpentine (Jura turpentine)[
]. Burgundy pitch is used as a varnish and in medicinal plasters[
]. It is a strong adhesive[
]. The turpentine is a waterproofer and wood preservative. They are obtained by incisions in the trunk, the resin is scraped out some months later[
An essential oil from the leaves is used in perfumery[
The seed contains 30% of a fatty oil, this is used in the production of a varnish[
The bark contains some tannin[
]. Both the bark and bark extract have been widely used in Europe as a source of tannin, the bark containing up to 13% tannin[
]. Yields of tannin have been doubled by heating or steaming the bark as soon as possible after the tree has been felled[
Wood - medium hard, fairly elastic, durable under water, light in weight and colour. Used for general carpentry, joinery, musical instruments etc. Valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper[
The wood is used for pulpwood as well as construction, furniture (most of the popular 'pine' furniture is made with wood from Norway Spruce), and special uses like the sound boards of pianos and the bodies of guitars and violins. The famous Stradivarius violins were made with wood of Norway Spruce from the Alps[
Seed - stratification will probably improve germination so sow fresh seed in the autumn in a cold frame if possible[
]. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible in a cold frame[
]. A position in light shade is probably best[
]. Seed should not be allowed to dry out and should be stored in a cool place[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. They can be planted out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year, or be placed in an outdoor nursery bed for a year or so to increase in size. They might need protection from spring frosts.
Cuttings of semi-ripe terminal shoots, 5 - 8cm long, August in a frame. Protect from frost. Forms roots in the spring[
Cuttings of mature terminal shoots, 5 - 10cm long, September/early autumn in a cold frame. Takes 12 months[
Cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, early summer in a frame. Slow but sure.