Landowner Fact Sheets

black spruce Picea mariana

Black spruce is a slow growing conifer of northernmost North America, occuring on sites ranging from lowland bogs to upland ridges. Black spruce is the most significant species for pulpwood in Canada. Black spruce is also commercially utilized throughout the Lake States, especially in Minnesota.

range map Click to see more images. wood grain

Black spruce is shade tolerant and can be regenerated by a variety of methods. Commercially, it is typically regenerated by patch or strip clearcuts.

Black spruce is most often associated with very wet soils, often growing in bogs. Farther north, black spruce may be found on well drained uplands.


Small to medium sized trees up to 70 feet tall with a very narrow conical or spire-like crown and a poorly pruned trunk.

Timber Value
Black spruce is used for high-quality pulpwood, lumber, and Christmas trees.

Wildlife Value
Spruce grouse is primarily associated with black spruce forests. Several species of birds and rodents eat the seeds.
Attracts mice, voles, red squirrels, snowshoe hares, pine grosbeaks, pine siskins, crossbills, warblers

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Black spruce is very tolerant of poor conditions, and can be found north to the tree line. The peat deposits in the bogs and swamps black spruce commonly grows in can be from 20 inches to 20 feet deep.

Latin Meaning
Picea: Latin "pix" (pitch-producing) from Greek "pissa" (pitch) / mariana: of Maryland

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.