Picea sitchensis
Common name: 
Sitka Spruce
PI-see-a sit-KEN-sis
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Conifer, evergreen tree, 40-60(160) ft [12-18(49) m] tall, broadly conical with thin, horizontally spreading branches or swoop upward. Bark gray smooth, thin, becoming purplish-brown with scaly plates.   Needles stiff, 15-25 mm, on all sides of stem but parted on the underside of horizontal shoots, 4-sided but somewhat flattened (not square in cross-section and not easily rolled between your fingers), tip sharp pointed, glossy green above, silvery-white below due to white stomatal lines on both lower surfaces.  (Note, P. pungens var. glauca, Colorado Blue Spruce, is silvery on both sides; i.e., has stomatal lines on all four surfaces.)  Cones cylindrical-oblong, 6-10 cm long.
  • Sun.  Prefers a moist to wet, sandy soil and cool, moist air (e.g., coastal fog belt).
  • Note:  There are three spruce (Picea) species native to Oregon, namely:
    • Engelmann spruce (P. engelmannii)  -  ordinarily grows in mountains above 4,000 ft, often in cold wet environments.  Therefore, it is not found in the Coast Range of Oregon and Washington.
    • Sitka spruce (P. sitchensis)  -  found mostly in moist, well-drained sites along the Pacific Coast, seldom more than tens of miles from the ocean.
    • Brewer spruce (P. brewerana)  -  native to a relatively limited area; the steep slopes of the Siskiyou Mountains of southern Oregon and northern California.
  • There are several dwarf selections of Sitka spruce, including:
    • 'Papoose'  -  globe-shaped shrub, slowly becoming conical, foliage is blue and green with short, sharp needles
  • sitchensis: of Sitka, Alaska
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: large trees northwest of Furman Hall
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit

    plant habit

  • branches


  • branchlets


  • branch, needles, and seed cones

    branch, needles, and seed cones

  • needles


  • branchlet, needles, comparison with Colorado Blue Spruce

    branchlet, needles, comparison with Colorado Blue Spruce

  • cones


  • cones, winter

    cones, winter

  • trunk, bark; in habitat

    trunk, bark; in habitat

  • trunk, bark

    trunk, bark