PICEA ABIES, the NORWAY SPRUCE, is a species of spruce native to
Northern , Central and
Eastern Europe . It has branchlets that
typically hang downwards, and the largest cones of any spruce , 9–17
cm (3 1⁄2–6 3⁄4 in) long. It is very closely related to the
Siberian spruce (Picea obovata), which replaces it east of the Ural
Mountains , and with which it hybridises freely. The Norway spruce is
widely planted for its wood, and is the species used as the main
Christmas tree in several cities around the world. It was the first
gymnosperm to have its genome sequenced , and one clone has been
measured as 9,550 years old.
* 1 Description
* 2 Range and ecology
* 3 Cultivation
* 4 Longevity
* 5 Genetics
* 6 Chemistry
* 7 Research
* 8 Taxonomy
* 8.1 Synonyms
* 8.2 Cultivars
* 9 See also
* 10 References
* 11 External links
An 1885 illustration of P. abies, showing the cones and leaves.
Norway spruce is a large, fast-growing evergreen coniferous tree
growing 35–55 m (115–180 ft) tall and with a trunk diameter of 1
to 1.5 m (39 to 59 in). It can grow fast when young, up to 1 m (3 ft)
per year for the first 25 years under good conditions, but becomes
slower once over 20 m (65 ft) tall. The shoots are orange-brown and
glabrous (hairless). The leaves are needle-like with blunt tips,
12–24 mm (15⁄32–15⁄16 in) long, quadrangular in cross-section
(not flattened), and dark green on all four sides with inconspicuous
stomatal lines. The seed cones are 9–17 cm (3 1⁄2–6 3⁄4 in)
long (the longest of any spruce), and have bluntly to sharply
triangular-pointed scale tips. They are green or reddish, maturing
brown 5–7 months after pollination. The seeds are black, 4–5 mm
(5⁄32–3⁄16 in) long, with a pale brown 15-millimetre
The tallest measured Norway spruce is 62.26 m (204 ft) tall and grows
Ribnica na Pohorju ,
RANGE AND ECOLOGY
The Norway spruce grows throughout
Europe from Norway in the
northwest and Poland eastward, and also in the mountains of central
Europe, southwest to the western end of the Alps, and southeast in the
Carpathians and Balkans to the extreme north of Greece. The northern
limit is in the arctic, just north of 70° N in Norway. Its eastern
limit in Russia is hard to define, due to extensive hybridisation and
intergradation with the
Siberian spruce , but is usually given as the
Ural Mountains. However, trees showing some
Siberian spruce characters
extend as far west as much of northern Finland, with a few records in
northeast Norway. The hybrid is known as Picea × fennica (or P. abies
subsp. fennica, if the two taxa are considered subspecies ), and can
be distinguished by a tendency towards having hairy shoots and cones
with smoothly rounded scales.
Norway spruce cone scales are used as food by the caterpillars of the
Cydia illutana , whereas
Cydia duplicana feeds on the
bark around injuries or canker .
The Trafalgar Square
Christmas tree in 2008. Given to London
every year as a gift from Norway's capital city,
Oslo , Norway spruces
that are around 50 to 60 years old are typically used.
The Norway spruce is one of the most widely planted spruces, both in
and outside of its native range, and one of the most economically
important coniferous species in Europe. It is used as an ornamental
tree in parks and gardens . It is also widely planted for use as a
Christmas tree . Every Christmas, the Norwegian capital city, Oslo,
provides the cities of
London (the Trafalgar Square
Christmas tree ),
Edinburgh and Washington D.C. with a Norway spruce, which is placed at
the most central square of each city. This is mainly a sign of
gratitude for the aid these countries gave during the Second World
War. In North America, Norway spruce is widely planted, specifically
in the northeastern, Pacific Coast , and Rocky Mountain states , as
well as in southeastern Canada. It is naturalised in some parts of
North America. There are naturalised populations occurring from
Michigan , and it is probable that they occur
elsewhere. Norway spruces are more tolerant of hot, humid weather
than many conifers which do not thrive except in cool-summer areas and
they will grow up to USDA Growing Zone 8.
In the northern US and Canada, Norway spruce is reported as invasive
in some locations, however it does not pose a problem in Zones 6 and
up as the seeds have a significantly reduced germination rate in areas
with hot, humid summers.
The Norway spruce tolerates acidic soils well, but does not do well
on dry or deficient soils. From 1928 until the 1960s it was planted on
surface mine spoils in Indiana.
The Norway spruce is used in forestry for timber and paper
The tree is the source of spruce beer , which was once used to
prevent and even cure scurvy . This high vitamin C content can be
consumed as a tea from the shoot tips or even eaten straight from the
tree when light green and new in spring.
It is esteemed as a source of tonewood by stringed-instrument makers.
One form of the tree is called Haselfichte (de) (Hazel-spruce) which
grows in the European Alps and has been recognized by UNESCO as
intangible cultural heritage. This form was used by Stradivarius for
instruments. (see German for details).
Norway spruce shoot tips have been used in traditional Austrian
medicine internally (as syrup or tea) and externally (as baths, for
inhalation, as ointments, as resin application or as tea) for
treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract, skin, locomotor
system, gastrointestinal tract and infections.
A press release from
Umeå University says that a Norway spruce clone
Old Tjikko , carbon dated as 9,550 years old, is the "oldest
However, Pando , a stand of 47,000 quaking aspen clones, is estimated
to be between 80,000 and one million years old.
The stress is on the difference between the singular "oldest tree"
and the multiple "oldest trees", and between "oldest clone" and
"oldest non-clone". The oldest known individual tree (that has not
taken advantage of vegetative cloning ) is a Great Basin bristlecone
pine over 5,000 years old (germination in 3051 BC).
The genome of
Picea abies was sequenced in 2013, the first gymnosperm
genome to be completely sequenced. The genome contains approximately
20 billion base pairs and is about six times the size of the human
genome, despite possessing a similar number of genes. A large
proportion of the spruce genome consists of repetitive DNA sequences,
including long terminal repeat transposable elements . Despite recent
advances in massively parallel DNA sequencing, the assembly of such a
large and repetitive genome is a particularly challenging task, mainly
from a computational perspective.
Within populations of
Picea abies there is great genetic variability,
which most likely reflect populations' post-glacial evolutionary
history. Genetic diversity can in particular be detected when looking
at how the populations respond to climatic conditions. E.g. variations
in timing and length of the annual growth period as well as
differences in frost-hardiness in spring and autumn. These annual
growth patterns are important to recognise in order to choose the
proper reforestation material of Picea abies.
p-Hydroxybenzoic acid glucoside , picein , piceatannol and its
glucoside (astringin ), isorhapontin (the isorhapontigenin glucoside),
catechin and ferulic acid are phenolic compounds found in mycorrhizal
and non-mycorrhizal roots of Norway spruces.
Piceol and astringin
are also found in P. abies.
Picea abies have shown inhibitory activity on porcine
pancreatic lipase in vitro .
Picea abies and P. obovata Cones of P. obovata are
short and have rounded scales. Cones of P. abies are longer and
have pointed scales.
Populations in southeast
Europe tend to have on average longer cones
with more pointed scales; these are sometimes distinguished as Picea
abies var. acuminata (Beck) Dallim. pure specimens are rare. Hybrids
are commonly known as Norwegian spruce, which should not be confused
with the pure species Norway spruce.
Picea abies (L.) H. Karst is the accepted name of this species. More
than 150 synonyms of
Picea abies have been published.
Homotypic synonyms of
Picea abies are:
* Pinus abies L.
* Abies picea Mill.
* Pinus pyramidalis Salisb.
* Pinus abies subsp. vulgaris Voss
* Abies abies (L.) Druce
Some heterotypic synonyms of
Picea abies are:
* Abies alpestris Brügger
* Abies carpatica (Loudon) Ravenscr.
* Abies cinerea Borkh.
* Abies clambrasiliana Lavallée
* Abies clanbrassiliana P. Lawson
* Abies coerulescens K. Koch
* Abies conica Lavallée
* Abies elegans Sm. ex J.Knight
* Abies eremita K.Koch
* Abies erythrocarpa (Purk.) Nyman
* Abies excelsa (Lam.) Poir.
* Abies extrema Th.Fr.
* Abies finedonensis Gordon
* Abies gigantea Sm. ex Carrière
* Abies gregoryana H. Low. ex Gordon
* Abies inverta R. Sm. ex Gordon
* Abies lemoniana Booth ex Gordon
* Abies medioxima C.Lawson
* Abies minuta Poir.
* Abies montana Nyman
* Abies parvula Knight
* Abies subarctica (Schur) Nyman
* Abies viminalis Wahlenb.
Picea alpestris (Brügger) Stein
* Picea cranstonii Beissn.
* Picea elegantissima Beissn.
* Picea excelsa (Lam.) Link
* Picea finedonensis Beissn.
* Picea gregoryana Beissn.
* Picea integrisquamis (Carrière) Chiov.
* Picea maxwellii Beissn.
* Picea montana Schur
* Picea remontii Beissn.
* Picea rubra A. Dietr.
* Picea subarctica Schur
* Picea velebitica Simonk. ex Kümmerle
* Picea viminalis (Alstr.) Beissn.
* Picea vulgaris Link
* Pinus excelsa Lam.
* Pinus sativa Lam.
* Pinus viminalis Alstr.
Several cultivars have been selected for garden use; they are
occasionally traded under the obsolete scientific name Picea excelsa
(an illegitimate name ). The following cultivars have gained the Royal
Horticultural Society 's Award of
Garden Merit :
* 'Little gem'
* Trees portal
List of Lepidoptera that feed on spruces
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Picea abies - Norway spruce" (PDF).
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Oberwinkler, F. (1990). "Phenolics of mycorrhizas and non-mycorrhizal
roots of Norway spruce". Planta. 182 (1): 142–148. PMID 24197010 .
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* ^ Løkke, Hans (June 1990). "
Picein and piceol concentrations in
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