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Sitka Spruce Picea sitchensis


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Family: Pinaceae, Pine view all from this family

Description Largest species of spruce; fourth largest conifer in the world. Bark gray to dark brown, thin, scaly, flaking in small circular plates 5–20 cm. across. Crown broad, conic becoming cylindric in older trees. Old trees may have no branches in the lowest 30–40 m. Shoots pale buff-brown, almost white. Needles stiff, sharp, 15–25 mm. long, flattened in cross-section, dark glaucous blue-green above with two or three thin lines of stomata, and blue-white below with two dense bands of stomata. Cones pale brown, pendulous, slender cylindrical, 5–11 cm. long, opening to 3 cm. broad. Scales thin, flexible 15-20 mm. long. pale brown. Seeds black, 3 mm. long. Wing pale brown, slender, 7–9 mm. long.

Dimensions Height: 49 m. (160 ft.)
Diameter: 0.9-1.5 m, (3-5 ft.) sometimes much larger.

Habitat Canyons & valleys, Mountains.

Range Northwest, Alaska, California, Western Canada.

Discussion Used widely in piano, harp, violin, and guitar manufacture, its high strength-to-weight ratio and regular, knot-free rings make it an excellent conductor of sound. For these reasons, the wood is also an important material for sailing boat spars, aircraft wing spars, and the nosecones of Trident missiles.