Spruces | Picea
Spruces (Picea) are large coniferous evergreen trees found in the Northern Hemisphere but in areas with temperate climates. It bears a conical shape, and both male and female trees produce cones. However, female cones are larger. The fairly smooth branches are whorled and the linear, spirally arranged needlelike leaves are four-sided and singly attached to the branches. The bark is thin and scaly while the scaled cones are cylindrical or egg-shaped. Timber from this tree is highly valued in the paper industry or in making boats and barrels while the cones are used to make spruce tea.
Spruce trees typically grow at a moderate rate, with an average growth rate of 13 to 24 inches (33-61 cm) per year. However, the rate of growth can vary depending on factors such as the species of spruce, the tree's environment, and the tree's age. In general, spruce trees tend to grow faster when they are younger, and their growth rate slows as they age.
One of the main differences between spruces and pines the shape of the needles. Spruce tree needles are typically four-sided and have a sharp, pointed tip, while pine tree needles are usually longer and more flexible, with a rounded tip. In addition, spruce tree cones are typically smaller and more cylindrical than pine tree cones. The scales on the cones of spruce trees are also more rigid, while the scales on pine tree cones are more flexible.
One of the most common uses of spruce trees is as a source of wood. Spruce wood is light, strong, and easy to work with, making it a popular choice for construction, furniture-making, and other woodworking projects. In addition, spruce trees are used for their medicinal properties in some traditional and herbal remedies. The essential oils extracted from spruce trees have been used to treat a range of ailments, including respiratory issues, muscle pain, and stress.