©BSNHS 2014

After possibly looking at one of these for the past couple of weeks the Norway spruce is the tree of the month


A member of the pinaceae family.

A naturalised tree, which was native in interglacial period, and reintroduced around the 1500s. About 50 species occur over most of the Northern hemisphere except for Africa. The record of the most isolated tree is the Norway spruce, a single tree growing on Campbell Island Antarctica, is 145km (90m) from its nearest companion on the Auckland Islands.

The bark, until the tree is about 50 years old, is coppery-brown, but with older trees bark is dark purplish with resinous patches, but always has a reddish or rusty tint that aids identification, it is this that has led it to be known as the red spruce in Germany. The crown is regularly conical with whorled branches. Male flowers are clusters of yellow anthers borne in May, usually shedding pollen in the second week, which soon fall after. Female flowers are greenish oval structures that rapidly ripen between spring and autumn into the characteristic cylindrical brown cones.

Nearly 50 moth species are connected with the spruce family with 10 directly associated with picea abies , for example a micro moth Assara terbrella of which the lava feed in developing cones which causes them to drop premature or the Barred red Hlaea fasciaria . In all nearly 100 phytophagous insects have been recorded on Picea abies in Great Britain.

Aphids both Adelgres laricis and A. abietis feed on the spruce tree thus leading to the formation of pineapple galls.

Cones of Norway Spruce

January Tree of the Month - Norway Spruce