Sitka Spruce

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Sitka spruce

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Scientific name: Picea sitchensis
The Sitka spruce was introduced into the UK from North America in the 19th century. It has been widely planted as a forestry tree; look for classic needle-like leaves and pale brown, domed cones.

Top facts

Stats

Height: up to 60m

Conservation status

Introduced, non-native species.

When to see

January to December

About

The Sitka spruce is a tall, evergreen conifer originally from the west coast of North America. It was introduced into the UK in 1831 and has become our most widely planted forest tree. Between the 1950s and 1980s, it was notoriously planted in large, regimented, dark and uniform forests.
It is conical in shape, displays needle-like, pointed leaves, and has large, domed cones that open their 'scales' to release the seeds inside.

What to look for

Spruce trees can be distinguished from fir trees because they have downwards-hanging cones; and they differ from pine trees by having shorter needles. The Sitka Spruce has pale brown, domed cones that are shorter (10cm long) than those of the Norway Spruce (15-20cm long).

Where to find

Widely planted for forestry.

Did you know?

The Sitka spruce a very common forestry tree in the UK's uplands. It is used for timber and wood pulp.