Picea rubens Sargent

Red spruce is a common and valuable forest tree of the Adirondacks and Catskills, and occasionally is found at high elevation (2000 feet) in eastern New York (Schoharie, Delaware, and Otsego Counties). The wood is light, close-grained, soft, and is in great demand for chemical wood pulp. It has a peculiar resonant quality that makes it exceedingly valuable for the sounding boards of musical instruments. It is used also for framing.

Bark - very thin, peeling off in small reddish brown scales.

Twigs - slender, reddish brown in color, coated usually with fine pale hairs.

Winter buds - small, pointed, reddish brown in color.

Leaves - needle-like, borne singly rather than in clusters as with the pines, but coming out all around the stem, 1/2 inch long, without stalk, yellowish green in color, blunt-pointed, 4-sided in cross-section, remaining on twigs 5 to 6 years.

Fruit - a cone, 1 1/2 to 2 inches long, dark brown when ripe, borne on a short stalk, pendant, maturing in a year, mostly falling off before the next season. Cone scales - thin, entire-margined.   Seeds - dark brown in color, winged, 1/8 inch long, ripening in September.

Distinguishing features - lack of rank odor from crushed needles; cone dark brown and falling early from tree.

45a. Black spruce (Picea mariana (Miller) BSP) closely resembles red spruce and covers the same general range, but is largely confined to swamps. It is used for pulpwood. The cones, unlike red spruce, remain on the tree for 2 or 3 years.

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