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PICEA mariana

Image of Picea mariana

Jesse Saylor

Family

Pinaceae

Botanical Name

PICEA mariana

Plant Common Name

Black Spruce, Maryland Spruce

General Description

The black spruce is an elegant evergreen tree that is spire-like with drooping branches that upcurve like eyelashes at their tips. It is a native of northern North America, from Alaska to the northernmost tier of the eastern United States. Often found growing in cool, moist soils, it has a shallow root system and is easily toppled by winds. This is a boreal species.

The needles of black spruce are four-sided, shiny and dark blue-green. The spry branches are relatively short, angle downward and then gracefully curve upward at their tips. Each spring, both male and female cones appear on the tree, but only the latter persist. These attractive, pendant, female cones are initially blue-black and change to dark red and finally to cinnamon brown, maturing in late fall. Cones and dead branches tend to linger on this gray-brown trunked tree for years.

Grow black spruce in full sun and neutral to acidic soil that is rich and friable but has good drainage. It is a slow growing spruce and since it does have a shallow root system it is best located in a wind-protected site or grown in clustered groves.

Selection 'Aureovariegata' has yellow and green needles, while 'Ericoides' and 'Nana' are both excellent for shrub borders, foundation beds and small rock gardens with their dwarf, compact sizes.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    6 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    1 - 6

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7

  • Plant Type

    Needled or Scaled Evergreen

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    30'-65' / 9.1m - 19.8m

  • Width

    6'-10' / 1.8m - 3.0m

  • Native To

    Northeastern United States, North-Central United States, Alaska, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Narrow Upright/Fastigiate

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    None

  • Fruit Color

    Burgundy, Dark Blue, Dark Salmon, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Sea Green, Blue Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Blue Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Blue Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Blue Green, Gray Green, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Platy

  • Usage

    Bog Garden, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No