White spruce grow from a stunted bush up to a 40 metre tall tree, with smooth, shiny twigs and gray scaly bark. The needles are square and the cones are light-brown to purple. It is sometimes confused with Engelmann spruce and the two can mix to make a Hybrid Spruce, but Engelmann spruce have hairy twigs.
RANGE & HABITAT
The only true white spruce grows in the Taiga Plains and the Central Interior, but trees that are part White Spruce are found throughout the interior of B.C.. It grows in many different environments, but prefers moist soils.
White spruce cones open up when they’re dry and ready to seed. A white spruce can live for over 100 years, but they have shallow roots and are easily blown over by heavy winds.
Many birds, squirrels and small mammals nest in and around white spruce trees. When spruce trees are blown over, they become nurseries for spruce beetles that can attack and kill many of the trees in the surrounding area.
TRADITIONAL FIRST NATIONS USES
Almost every part of the white spruce was used to make clothing and woven articles. The roots were used for baskets and sewing seams, the bark was used for serving dishes, and young trees were used to make snowshoes and bows.
Spruce trees are used for lumber, and its pulp to make paper products.
COSEWIC: Not at Risk