categoryZTrees Trees List 
categoryZConiferous Coniferous List 
categoryZEvergreen Evergreen List 

SITKA SPRUCE

Picea sitchensis

Formerly : Picea menziesii, Abies menziesii, Pinus sitchensis, Abies sitchensis
Pine Family [Pinaceae]

Flowers:
month8may month8jun month8june

Cones:
month8sep month8sept month8oct

category
category8Trees
category
category8Coniferous
category
category8Evergreen
status
statusZneophyte

flower
flower8yellow
 
flower
flower8red
 
petals
petalsZ0
 
type
typeZspiked
 
stem
stem8round
 
stem
stem8ribbed
 
smell
smell8aromatic
aromatic
sex
sexZmonoecious
monoecious

24th May 2011, Shoot Lake Common, IOW Photo: © Geoff Toone
It grows to 59m (one source says) but another source says up to 100m. This specimen appears far shorter than either of those figures, it must be young. Sitka Spruce was introduced to Britain in 1831 and is now the commonest conifier of forestry plantations in Western Britain. It can also be found in many large gardens (but not your Authors which already has a ~110-foot Larch!)


24th May 2011, Shoot Lake Common, IOW Photo: © Geoff Toone
Here the leaves are drooping downwards.


19th April 2011, Shoot Lake Common, Geoff Toone Photo: © Geoff Toone
The bark is a very pale reddish-brown.


19th April 2011, Shoot Lake Common, Geoff Toone Photo: © Geoff Toone
The lower part of the trunk has several young branches of leaves but closer to the bole the leaves have dropped off leaving their 'leaf pedestals' as short 'knobs' on the branch.


19th April 2011, Shoot Lake Common, Geoff Toone Photo: © Geoff Toone
The bark is covered in tiny horizontally-oval ridges or puck-marks.


18th Aug 2018, a private woods, Burscough Bridge, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The older trunks develop circular holes in the bark, another characteistic of Sitka Spruce.
Breaking up is hard to do...


19th April 2011, Shoot Lake Common, Geoff Toone Photo: © Geoff Toone
The cones drop off the higher branches onto the ground so that botanical photographers can take photos of them.


19th April 2011, Shoot Lake Common, Geoff Toone Photo: © Geoff Toone
The tips of the scales of the cones are quite distinctive with teeth (or short lobes). Female cones are small, just 6 to 10cm long.

There are two seeds per scale.



19th April 2011, Shoot Lake Common, IOW. Photo: © Geoff Toone
The needle leaves are very stiff and splay outwards all around the leafy branch. Young developing female cones occur at the ends of leafy branches. [Whereas Male cones are thinner, longer and banana-shaped appearing near the other (tree-) end of a branch. It is monoecious, with both male and female flowers on the same tree.

Sorry - no photos of the male cones here although they should be on this same tree somewhere. The male cones are green turning pale red].



19th April 2011, Shoot Lake Common, IOW. Photo: © Geoff Toone
Young developing female cones at the ends of leafy branches. The female cones are yellow to purplish. The leaves are spirally arranged around the branches and have their pale-green 'undersides' facing away from the tree trunk (and their dark green side facing towards the trunk)


22nd April 2017, Loggerheads Country Pk, N. Wales Photo: © RWD
The leaves may be spirally arranged around the stem, but they turn towards one side or the other of the shoot. The underside of the leaves have two pale-green strips running lengthways surrounded by dark-green parts of the leaf which are raised.


22nd April 2017, Loggerheads Country Pk, N. Wales Photo: © RWD
The topside of the leaves is a shiny dark-green with an axial groove down the centre.


22nd April 2017, Loggerheads Country Pk, N. Wales Photo: © RWD
The tips of these leaves have a slight nick in them (but this might not apply to ALL leaves?).


22nd April 2017, Loggerheads Country Pk, N. Wales Photo: © RWD
The end of a branch. The leaves are stalkless and vary in length from 15 to 25mm (sometimes down to as short as 8mm).


22nd April 2017, Loggerheads Country Pk, N. Wales Photo: © RWD
The way the leaves attach to the leaf twig with the upper leaves straight on; the lower leaves may be twisted close to the stem. (The leaves have fallen off the vacant brown knobbles).


22nd April 2017, Loggerheads Country Pk, N. Wales Photo: © RWD
The pale-green parts of the underside of the leaves are granular. The leaves are said to be 'dorsiventrally' flattened (which means flat on the top side and also flat on the underside [which presumably excludes any grooves/ribs]).


18th Aug 2018, a private woods, Burscough Bridge, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
This indeed also seems to be Sitka Spruce despite the leaves not having a bend in them as they emerge off the twig. It is on the same tree with the circular holes in the bark - which is a characteristic of Sitka Spruce. The greyish white sides are all facing towards the end of the branch, as they do. This is why from afar the leaves appear greyish-white. They are on short pedestals, seen better when the leaf has vacated the pedestal (which no doubt has a proper botanical name).

The needles are very sharp and painful to touch at their points.

The twigs are hairless.


Sitka Spruce grows to 60m high and is a neophyte which is often planted in Coniferous forests in the West of the UK.

There have been reports of some hybrids it can have with Serbian Spruce where these two species grow close together, but these hybrids dont progress any further than seedlings.


  Picea sitchensis  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Pinaceae  

Distribution
 family8Pine family8Pinaceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Picea
Picea
(Spruces)

SITKA SPRUCE

Picea sitchensis

Formerly : Picea menziesii, Abies menziesii, Pinus sitchensis, Abies sitchensis
Pine Family [Pinaceae]