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Spruce Conifers | Picea

Spruce or Picea is a genus of 35 evergreen species, and part of the Pinacaea family. It is thought that the name originally derived from the local pronunciation of the word "Prussia" or "Prusy", a historical region which is today part of Poland. Prusy was a general term for the goods brought to England from Prussia by Hanseatic merchants; amongst the imported items of the times were Spruce trees as we know them today.

Features of Picea conifers

  • They don't exhibit clusters of needles but rather individual needles which are attached to the branches on a small stalk-like, or peg-like, projection in a spiral fashion, creating the appearance of soft, circular branches. Spruce/Picea needles are square and sharply pointed, and can easily be rolled between the fingers. When the needles shed, the projections stay on the boughs of the tree, making them rough to the touch
  • Spruce conifers are renowned for their typical conical shape, although there are a small number of cultivars that differ in form
  • Their bark is particularly rough, even when young, whereas most coniferous species adopt a textured bark only with maturity
  • Like almost all coniferous trees, Spruce produce cones which can remain on the branches for a number of years. Often these male and female cones appear mainly on the upper third of the tree, and their delicate scales are much thinner than those of other species, with an almost paper-like texture
  • They are tidy, mostly conical shaped trees and most are evergreen (all of ours are evergreen varieties)

Spruce for every garden

Our selection of Spruce trees are great for providing year-round interest and structure, whether planted as part of a border, as a foil for other specimens or as a small feature tree to be situated on a patio or rockery. All of our ornamental Picea conifers are relatively small-scale and so are ideal for planting in areas with restricted space, and will fare will fare well when grown in a pot or planter. We have a variety of colours to suit a range of planting schemes; if you are looking to create and impact with colour, consider the striking vivid tones of the Blue Spruce, or if you're after something a little more traditional, one of our White Spruce will do just the trick.  They look particularly attractive when the lower branches are permitted to skirt the tree to the ground with a mulch underneath, rather than a cleaned up trunk.

Mostly they are found growing on mountain sides or on wet plains in East Asia so that gives an indication that they do well in similar conditions in the UK where they mostly like acidic, damp but well drained soils, ideally in areas of high rainfall. Picea pungens particularly likes cold conditions.

The Norwegian Spruce  (Picea abies) is the traditional Christmas tree, introduced to the UK for that purpose by Prince Albert replaced in recent years by the Nordmann Fir.

Uses of Spruce

  • Spruce wood is lightweight yet strong, and is commonly used in the building trade. Although nowadays it is mainly used in general construction, in has previously been used in the production of wooden aircraft - in fact, it was the Wright brothers' wood of choice when building The Flyer, the World's first aeroplane
  • The wood has long fibres which bind together easily and for this reason it is one of the most important woods used in the manufacture of strong paper
  • The young shoots are thought to be a good source of Vitamin C and can be used to make beer, tea and syrup
Spruce Conifers | Picea
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