Norway spruce (Picea albies)

May 7, 2008 at Fletcher's - arboretum; May 24, 2008 Queen Elizabeth Drive, near Landsdowne Park. Norway spruce usually has vertical-hanging branches off the main branches.


Hanging cone. They are large and cylindrical. They are not smooth-lipped as white spruce, but not frilled as Colorado spruce. Rather, they have a bit of a notch.


The needles are smaller than Colorado spruce, similar to white spruce but have no white line. It seems to me that looked on head on, Norway spruce needles form a pinwheel whorl around the end bud, as does Colorado spruce. White spruce forms a normal whorl. Norway spruce needles do not grow vertically on the underside of larger branche, but sweep to either side. This makes the branch itself very visible on the underside. Colorado and white spruce do not have this feature.

Similar species

White spruce is very similar and common in the Glebe. The differences I detect are: The cones are very different. White spruce cones are about 2-3" long; oval - not big. Norway spruce are perhaps 6-7" long, and cylindrical. The branches: Norway spruce branches usually, but not always, droop noticeably, somethimes hanging vertically from their bigger branch. The terminal drooping branch segments are often longer than white spruce end segments. White spruce can droop as well, but less so and not as often from upper branches. Norway spruce branches often take an arc-shaped swing upwards, like the front of a viking ship. Needles: they are very similar but a close examination seems to show that Norway spruce have no white lines, whereas white spruce and Colorado spruce have. This seems to give the white spruce a paler tint than Norway spruce from a distance. Norway spruce needles seem a richer green. Bark: it looks to me like Norway spruce has bigger platy bark. White spruce bark seems more scaly. Colorado spruce is often, but nor always distinctly bluish in colour. The cones are similar but the lips of them are fringed, not entire. Balsam fir: the needles are flat and have two distinct white lines.