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Picea mariana

Picea mariana
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Product Information

Scientific name: Picea mariana (P.Miller) N.Britton, Sterns & Poggenburg  1888

Synonyms:Abies denticulata Michx, Abies mariana Mill., Abies nigra (Castigl.) Du Roi, Peuce rubra Rich., Picea brevifolia Peck, Picea ericoides Bean, Picea nigra (Du Roi) Link, Pinus denticulata (Michx) Muhl., Pinus mariana (Mill.) Du Roi, Pinus marylandica Antoine, Pinus nigra Aiton

Common names: Black spruce, Bog spruce, Swamp spruce, Épinette noire (French)



Tree to 30 m tall but often dwarfed and less than 10 m on extreme sites, with trunk to 0.3(-0.6) m in diameter. Bark grayish brown, remaining thin and scaly with age. Crown very narrowly cylindrical, often open below and with a denser topknot at the summit, with short, strongly downswept branches turning up at the tips and bearing short side branches in all directions, the lowest branches often rooting into wet mossy substrates to form clonal clumps of trees. New branchlets yellowish brown to orange-brown, with many short, sometimes glandular hairs, especially in the grooves between the leaf bases. Buds 3-5(-6) mm long, not resinous, the outermost scales long and needlelike. Needles initially bluish green with wax (0.6-)0.8-1.5(-2) cm long, curved gently forward, square or slightly flattened, with one or two lines of stomates on the two outer faces and three or four lines on the inner ones, usually blunt. Pollen cones 10-15 mm long, reddish brown. Seed cones (1.5-)2-3(-4) cm long, dark purple before maturity, ripening reddish brown. Seed scales egg-shaped, the edge round and minutely toothed, thin but woody and brittle. Seed body 2-3 mm long, the wing 2-5 mm longer.

All across northern North America, from Alaska to Newfoundland south to central British Columbia across to southern Manitoba and the Great Lakes states across to the mid-Atlantic US states. Growing in pure stands or mixed with tamarack (Larix laricina) in bogs and with any of the other North American boreal conifers and hardwoods on other site types throughout the boreal forest; 0-800(-1,500) m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern

(This spruce occurs across the North American continent in the boreal zone. Its wide distribution and large population size lead to an assessment of Least Concern)



Farjon, A. (2010). A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.

Eckenwalder, J.E. (2009) Conifers of the World: The Complete Reference. Timber Press, Portland.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Cambridge, UK /Gland, Switzerland


Copyright © Aljos Farjon, James E. Eckenwalder, IUCN, Conifers Garden. All rights reserved.

Product CodePICN95LE73

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