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Picea mariana (Mill.) Britton Sterns & Poggenb.

Picea mariana (Mill.) Britton Sterns & Poggenb. var. mariana

Black spruce

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionConiferophytaConifers—cone-bearing trees (and a few shrubs)
ClassPinopsidaGymnosperms such as cedars, Douglas-firs, cypresses, firs, junipers, kauri, larches, pines, hemlocks, redwoods, spruces, and yews
OrderPinalesCone-bearing plants: cedar, cypress, fir, juniper, larch, pine, redwood, spruce, yew, and others
FamilyPinaceaePine family: cedars, firs, hemlocks, larches, pines and spruces
GenusPiceaSpruce; means “pitch”
SpeciesmarianaMeans “from Maryland”

About plant names...

Black spruce is native to temperate regions of North Amer­ica. It prefers wetter lowland regions, or drier upland and alpine regions to elevations as high as 5000' (1.5 km). It likes long, cold winters and short summers. It is migrating gradually northward as a result of global warming.

Plants: Trees are slow-growing narrow evergreens with straight trunks and drooping branches with upturned tips. Bark is thin, scaly, and gray-brown. Branches pressed to the ground by winter snows take root, producing rings of new trees.

Leaves: Needles are linear, stiff, sharp-tipped, up to ¾" (2 cm) long, with a diamond-shaped cross section. They are attached in a spiral pattern. They are dark blue-green, often coated with a powdery white substance.

Flowers: Trees produce red male flowers that turn yellow to light brown, as well as purple female flowers that are upright, appearing in the upper crowns. Flowers appear from April to May.

Fruits: Cones are ½-1" (1.5-3 cm) long, smaller than other conifers. They are almost round and gray to black in color, in dense clusters near the top of the tree.

Edibility: Tea, spruce gum from the bark, spruce oil from the needles (a flavoring or medicine), and even spruce beer are made from black spruce.

Medical: Spruce oil prepared from spruce needles has been approved for use in treating colds, coughs, fevers, inflam­mation of the mouth and pharynx, nauralgias, and rheumatism. There are many unproven uses as well.

Online References:

Picea mariana on gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org

Picea mariana on BorealForest.org

Picea mariana on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Picea mariana on Plants for a Future

References:

Multiple Authors, PDR for Herbal Medicines, Thomson Healthcare Inc., 2007, p. 783

Picea mariana (black spruce)

7/12/2015 · Mt. Kearsarge, Wilmot/Warner, NH

Picea mariana (black spruce)

9/20/2009 · Wild Gardens of Acadia, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 31 × 21" (78 × 52 cm)

Picea mariana (black spruce)

7/13/2015 · Mt. Mansfield, Stowe/Cambridge, VT
≈ 5 × 8" (13 × 19 cm)

Picea mariana (black spruce)

9/7/2013 · Beech Hill, Dublin, NH
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 21 cm)

Picea mariana (black spruce)

7/13/2015 · Mt. Mansfield, Stowe/Cambridge, VT
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Picea mariana (black spruce)

9/7/2013 · Beech Hill, Dublin, NH
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Picea mariana description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 22 Aug 2020.

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Picea mariana (black spruce)

11/1/2011

Picea mariana (black spruce)

8/22/2020 · Kettle Hole Bog, Hidden Valley Nature Center, Jefferson, ME
≈ 7 × 10" (16 × 24 cm)

Picea mariana (black spruce)

9/7/2013 · Beech Hill, Dublin, NH
≈ 4 × 2½' (1.2 × 0.8 m)

Picea mariana (black spruce)

7/13/2015 · Mt. Mansfield, Stowe/Cambridge, VT
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Picea mariana (black spruce)

8/22/2020 · Kettle Hole Bog, Hidden Valley Nature Center, Jefferson, ME
≈ 8 × 5" (20 × 13 cm)

Picea mariana (black spruce)

9/7/2013 · Beech Hill, Dublin, NH
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Picea mariana (black spruce)

8/22/2020 · Kettle Hole Bog, Hidden Valley Nature Center, Jefferson, ME
≈ 4 × 3" (11 × 7.3 cm)

Picea mariana (black spruce)

7/13/2015 · Mt. Mansfield, Stowe/Cambridge, VT
≈ 8 × 5" (20 × 13 cm)

Picea mariana (black spruce)

7/13/2015 · Mt. Mansfield, Stowe/Cambridge, VT
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Picea mariana (black spruce)

9/7/2013 · Beech Hill, Dublin, NH

Range: Zones 3-5:

About this map...