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).
- Hardy to USDA Zone 7 Found along the Pacific Coast from Alaska (its State Tree) to California, sometimes very near the ocean.
- In the Willamette Valley, aphid-like adelgids produce galls on the tips of young twigs of Sitka spruce, causing their death.
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