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any plant of the genus Picea, evergreen trees or shrubs of the family Pinaceae (pinepine,
common name for members of the Pinaceae, a family of resinous woody trees with needlelike, usually evergreen leaves. The Pinaceae reproduce by means of cones (see cone) rather than flowers and many have winged seeds, suitable for wind distribution.
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 family) widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere. The needles are angular in cross section, rather than flattened as in the related hemlocks and firs. The Norway spruce (P. abies), an important timber tree of Europe, is one of the most commonly cultivated evergreens. The Siberian spruce (P. obovata) grows in coniferous forests (taiga) of Russia and Siberia, the Oriental spruce (P. orientalis) is a major species of S Europe, and the yeddo spruce (P. jezoensis) of Manchuria and Japan is sometimes dwarfed and potted (see dwarf treedwarf tree,
in horticultural practice, a tree artificially kept to a smaller size than is normal for average members of the species. This is usually accomplished either by limiting its root space and food and by careful pruning or by grafting it on the rootstock of a smaller
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). North American spruces used for timber are the red spruce (P. rubens), white spruce (P. glauca), and black spruce (P. mariana) of the East; the Engelmann spruce (P. engelmanii) of the Rocky Mountain forests; and the Sitka spruce (P. sitchensis) of the Pacific forest belt. Numerous spruces are cultivated as ornamentals; the most popular North American garden spruce is the frosty- or silvery-blue-needled Colorado blue spruce (P. pungens). Commercially, spruces are of particular value as a major source of pulpwood for the manufacture of paper. Wood of the various species is usually light, soft, and straight-grained and has been used for interior and exterior construction work, boats, airplanes, and woodenware. The bark is sometimes used for tanning, and some species yield a gum resin. Spruce beer has been made from the young shoots of the red spruce and the black spruce. Native Americans in the West have used spruce gum for caulking, the inner bark for food, and strips of spruce for weaving watertight mats and baskets. Spruce is classified in the division PinophytaPinophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called gymnosperms. The gymnosperms, a group that includes the pine, have stems, roots and leaves, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Pinopsida, order Coniferales, family Pinaceae.


A white to light brown or red-brown, straight and even-grained wood; moderately low density and strength; relatively inexpensive; used for general utility lumber. See also: Masonite



(Picea), a genus of coniferous evergreen trees of the pine family. Spruce is a prevalent forest species. The trunk is straight, and the crown thick and conical. The cones are four-sided, in some cases flattened and sharp, and can be preserved for five to seven years (and in some varieties, nine to 12). The anther microstrobiles are separate and either red or yellow. The pollen has two air sacs. The female cones are woody, drooping, and firmly attached. The seeds have a spoon-shaped wing. The root system of the spruces is superficial. Spruce can thrive in shade and cold winter, but are damaged by late spring and early summer frosts and by soot, factory smoke, and dry air. Spruce trees live 250–300 years (some reach 500 years) and grow on fresh clayey, loamy, and sandy loam soils. Spruce is an ornamental tree.

There are approximately 40 species found in Europe, Asia, and North America; eight grow in the USSR. In the European part from the northern forest boundary to the northern edge of the chernozem soil belt, the Norway spruce (P. abies or P. excelsa) prevails. This species reaches 20–50 m in height and a diameter of up to 1 m. It bears fruit at 15 years in natural growth and at 25–30 years in plantations. The cones grow to a length of 10–15 cm with scales that are rippled at the end. The wood is white, light, and soft; it is used in construction, in paper production, and for making musical instruments. The wood yields tar, pitch, turpentine, rosin, wood vinegar, and tanning substances. Spruce trees are usually cultivated in parks and planted in forest zones and along railroads and roadways.

The Siberian spruce (P. obovata) grows in the northeast European part of the Soviet Union, the Urals, and Siberia. It has smaller cones with solid scales. The Finnish Siberian spruce ‘(P. fennica) grows in northern Karelia; the oriental spruce (P. orientalis) in the Caucasus; the Schrenk spruce (P. schrenkiana), with a bluish coloration to the needles, in the Dzungarian Alatau and Tien-Shan; and the Korean spruce (P. koraiensis) and the flat-needled Yeddo spruce (P. ajanensis) in the Far East.


Flora SSSR, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1934.
Derev’ia i kustarniki SSSR, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
Gaussen, H. Les Gymnospermes actuelles etfossiles, fasc. 8, ch. 11. Toulouse, 1966.



An evergreen tree belonging to the genus Picea characterized by single, four-sided needles borne on small peglike projections, pendulous cones, and resinous wood.

spruce, Norway spruce, spruce fir, white deal, white fir

A white to light brown or red-brown, straight- and even-grained wood; moderately low density and strength. Relatively inexpensive; used for general-utility lumber.


1. any coniferous tree of the N temperate genus Picea, cultivated for timber and for ornament: family Pinaceae. They grow in a pyramidal shape and have needle-like leaves and light-coloured wood
2. the wood of any of these trees
References in classic literature ?
I often think that I should like to have my house front on this mass of dull red bushes, omitting other flower plots and borders, transplanted spruce and trim box, even graveled walks--to have this fertile spot under my windows, not a few imported barrowfuls of soil only to cover the sand which was thrown out in digging the cellar.
These soiled, once-blue overalls, these heavy, manure-spotted shoes, this greasy, shapeless straw hat, with its dozen matches showing their red heads over the band, the good soils and fertilizers of Kansas resting placidly in his ears and the lines of his neck--such a Romeo might not tempt his Juliet; he must spruce up.
Everything was spruce and neat in the cottage: on the table was spread a white cloth, and there were seven little plates, seven little loaves, and seven little glasses with wine in them; and seven knives and forks laid in order; and by the wall stood seven little beds.
When last I saw him he was spruce enough, but he looked ill at ease: now, untidy and ill-kempt, he looked perfectly at home.
Philip went to the Tivoli and saw Mildred with her companion, a smooth-faced young man with sleek hair and the spruce look of a commercial traveller, sitting in the second row of the stalls.
Snow also spread more abundantly below, and the only trees were clumps of pine and spruce in the lower valleys.
Berg drove up to his father-in-law's house in his spruce little trap with a pair of sleek roans, exactly like those of a certain prince.
The lifeless body of Ska, torn and bleeding, dropped plummet-like toward the ground; a bit of splintered spruce drove backward to strike the pilot on the forehead; the plane shuddered and trembled and as Lieutenant Harold Percy Smith-Oldwick sank forward in momentary unconsciousness the ship dived headlong toward the earth.
The distant spruce groves were burnished bronze, and their long shadows barred the upland meadows.
So I was not surprised, still later on in my life, to recognize instantly, the first time I saw them, trees such as the spruce, the yew, the birch, and the laurel.
Dark spruce forest frowned on either side the frozen waterway.
Under the branches of an enormous spruce lay the dead body of a man.