How to Identify Spruce Trees


Norway Spruce trees and White Spruce trees have a few things in common that make them easy to identify. From their overall distinctive shape, to their flowers, cones and leaf structure, spruce trees are easy to identify when you know what to look for.

  • Stand back quite a ways and take a look at the overall shape of the entire tree. A spruce tree is like a very tall, elongated triangle. Some people trim the bottom branches away, but this does not change the shape of the top; it just reveals the bark.

  • Look at the bark. The bark and twigs of a Norway Spruce are reddish-brown and roughened with thick scales. Norway Spruce cones are dry and hard, and can be anywhere from 4 to 8 inches long. The White Spruce has a distinctive feature, its bark, which is generally anywhere from an ash brown to a greyish color, and will reveal a silvery inner bark when freshly exposed. So if you're in doubt, scrape a teeny bit away, to see if it shines.

  • Analyze the leaves. Yes, those "pine needles" are the leaves. In a spruce, the leaves are all attached to the twig at the base, rather than in clumps. In a White Spruce, the colors of the leaves range from yellowish green to white, but they may be darker, too. In a Norway Spruce, the leaves are a shiny green. Some White Spruce leaves emit a skunky odor when crushed.

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