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Picea rubens

Picea rubens
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Product Information

Scientific name: Picea rubens C.Sargent  1898

Synonyms:Abies americana K.Koch, Abies rubra (Du Roi) Poir., Picea americana Suringar, Picea australis Small, Picea rubra (Du Roi) Link, Pinus americana Gaertn., Pinus rubra (Du Roi) D.Don

Common names:Eastern spruce, Red spruce, Épinette rouge (French)



Tree to 40 m tall, with trunk to 1(-1.5) m in diameter. Bark reddish brown to grayish brown, becoming strongly but irregularly ridged and furrowed on large trees. Crown shallow, broadly conical, with widely spaced, long, horizontal branches turning up at the tips and bearing horizontal or slightly drooping side branches. New branchlets yellowish brown, hairy, especially in the grooves between the leaf bases. Buds 5-8 mm long, with a few bristlelike scales outermost, not conspicuously resinous. Needles yellowish green to dark green, (0.8-)1-1.6(-3) cm long, curved a little forward and upward, square, with two to four lines of stomates on each side, pointed. Pollen cones 15-25 mm long, red. Seed cones 2.3-4.5(-6) cm long, green or purplish green before maturity, ripening chocolate brown. Seed scales broadly egg-shaped, thin but woody, stiff, and brittle. Seed body 2-3.5 mm long, the wing 4-8 mm longer.

Eastern North America, from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, west to South-central Ontario, south to the southern Appalachians in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. Forming pure stands or mixed with Fraser fir (Abies fraseri) in high montane forest in the south but usually mixed with hardwoods as single trees or small groves at moderate elevations in the north; 0-1,500(-2,000) m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern

(Athough Picea rubens underwent a period of decline during the 19th and 20th centuries, the major part of that decline happened outside of the three generation time period used to assess past declines. Additionally, while it occupies a more limited range than the other northern spruces in North America, its extent of occurrence is still very extensive and far beyond the thresholds for a threatened category. There is no current indication of decline, and it is actually expanding again in many parts of its range. It is therefore assessed as 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 CodePIC5TMPB40

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