Scientific Name: Picea sitchensis
Common Name: Sitka Spruce,Tideland Spruce
Plant Type: Evergreen tree
Environment: Requires moist conditions to look its best. Thrives in cool summers and costal fog. New shoots subject to spruce gall - a growth caused by aphids.
Bloom:Both male and female cones are produced on mature trees. Pollen is usually shed in late spring and the cones form and persist on the branches throughout the fall and winter months.
Uses: mportant foundation tree for large landscapes and can grow to 150 feet. Cultivar 'Speciosa' is more compact and slower growing. Wood is light and durable and is often used for musical instruments. Branch tips used in brewing beer.
Sitka spruce is the most dominant conifer of the islands and sea slopes of Alaska, British Columbia and the Olympic peninsula. The Inland Passage from Vancouver north to Sitka, is lined with conifers along its shores where spruce giants grow 8 feet in diameter and reach 150 feet high in the wet, temperate rain forests. Some 800-year-old ancients with massive swollen buttresses, develop huge claw-like roots which stand exposed above the wet mossy earth, high enough for a man to crawl beneath.
The two trees in Bed 66, at the south entrance to the bridge over the wildfowl pond, are young, and just beginning to show the weeping shape of Sitka Spruce, in which the branches sweep upward and the twigs droop downwards from the trunk. The undersides of the stout needles are silver showing two parallel bands of stomata (breathing pores). The cones are pendant and tapering, about 4 inches long with long bracts hiding the scales
For strength as well as lightness no other wood surpassed spruce for industrial use in America decades ago. Piano sounding boards, racing shells, oars, overhead garage doors, aircraft parts were some of its many uses
IN BLOOM CONTRIBUTORS:
Joanne Taylor and Kathy McNeil, Profile Contributor: Fred Bové