Norway Spruce (Picea abies)


Quick Facts

  • The most widespread, fastest growing, and the most disease resistant spruces in the Northern Hemisphere
  • It is the source of spruce beer, once used to cure and prevent scurvy
  • It is favored for Rockefeller Center's Christmas tree
  • The tallest tree ever chosen for Rockerfeller Center’s Christmas tree was a Norway spruce, it stood one-hundred feet tall and came from Killingworth Connecticut, 1948.


Norway spruce has red-brown scaly bark early in life that becomes grey and flakey.  Leaves are stiff evergreen needles that are ½-1 inch long and four-angled in cross-section. The species is monoecious, possessing both male and female cones. The male cones are yellow-brown and in small groups, the female flower is upright and purple. In the fall the cones of the tree mature to a chestnut brown, cylindrical in shape and four to six inches long with thin irregular scaling. The largest Norway spruce ever recorded in New York State stood at 120 feet tall and was discovered in Oneida County, last measured in 2000.