White spruce (Picea glauca)

White spruce cones photograph; © MN DNR, Rick Klevorn
White spruce needles photograph; © MN DNR, Rick Klevorn


Height usually 40' to 60', occasionally 100', with a diameter of 24"; straight trunk; long, stout branches form broad conical head.


Dark gray or gray-brown and scaly.


Needlelike, four-sided, crowded along branchlets; length 1/3" to 3/4"; pale bluish when young, dark bluish green when mature; sharply pointed; has a slightly disagreeable odor when crushed.

Fruit (seed)

Slender cone, length about 2"; cone scales round and soft at ends; cone thin and flexible when mature; narrow-winged seeds mature in one season; cones drop during winter after opening and shedding seeds.


Extensively found in the forests of northern Minnesota, reaching outward to the St. Croix Valley; thrives on dry soils associated with pine, and on moist soils and in swamps with balsam fir and tamarack; also found associated with mixed hardwoods; intermediate in shade tolerance.


More information:

White Spruce diagnosing yard tree