Picea abies

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Picea abies_table_infobox_0

Norway sprucePicea abies_header_cell_0_0_0
Conservation statusPicea abies_header_cell_0_1_0
Scientific classification PiceaPicea abies_header_cell_0_2_0
Kingdom:Picea abies_cell_0_3_0 PlantaePicea abies_cell_0_3_1
Clade:Picea abies_cell_0_4_0 TracheophytesPicea abies_cell_0_4_1
Division:Picea abies_cell_0_5_0 PinophytaPicea abies_cell_0_5_1
Class:Picea abies_cell_0_6_0 PinopsidaPicea abies_cell_0_6_1
Order:Picea abies_cell_0_7_0 PinalesPicea abies_cell_0_7_1
Family:Picea abies_cell_0_8_0 PinaceaePicea abies_cell_0_8_1
Genus:Picea abies_cell_0_9_0 PiceaPicea abies_cell_0_9_1
Species:Picea abies_cell_0_10_0 P. abiesPicea abies_cell_0_10_1
Binomial namePicea abies_header_cell_0_11_0

Picea abies, the Norway spruce or European spruce, is a species of spruce native to Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. Picea abies_sentence_0

It has branchlets that typically hang downwards, and the largest cones of any spruce, 9–17 cm (3 ⁄2–6 ⁄4 in) long. Picea abies_sentence_1

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. Picea abies_sentence_2

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. Picea abies_sentence_3

It was the first gymnosperm to have its genome sequenced. Picea abies_sentence_4

The Latin specific epithet abies means “fir-like”. Picea abies_sentence_5

Description Picea abies_section_0

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). Picea abies_sentence_6

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. Picea abies_sentence_7

The shoots are orange-brown and glabrous (hairless). Picea abies_sentence_8

The leaves are needle-like with blunt tips, 12–24 mm (⁄32–⁄16 in) long, quadrangular in cross-section (not flattened), and dark green on all four sides with inconspicuous stomatal lines. Picea abies_sentence_9

The seed cones are 9–17 cm (3 ⁄2–6 ⁄4 in) long (the longest of any spruce), and have bluntly to sharply triangular-pointed scale tips. Picea abies_sentence_10

They are green or reddish, maturing brown 5–7 months after pollination. Picea abies_sentence_11

The seeds are black, 4–5 mm (⁄32–⁄16 in) long, with a pale brown 15-millimetre (⁄8-inch) wing. Picea abies_sentence_12

The tallest measured Norway spruce is 62.26 m (204 ft) tall and grows near Ribnica na Pohorju, Slovenia. Picea abies_sentence_13

Range and ecology Picea abies_section_1

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. Picea abies_sentence_14

The northern limit is in the arctic, just north of 70° N in Norway. Picea abies_sentence_15

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. Picea abies_sentence_16

However, trees showing some Siberian spruce characters extend as far west as much of northern Finland, with a few records in northeast Norway. Picea abies_sentence_17

The hybrid is known as Picea × fennica (or P. abies subsp. Picea abies_sentence_18

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. Picea abies_sentence_19

Norway spruce cone scales are used as food by the caterpillars of the tortrix moth Cydia illutana, whereas Cydia duplicana feeds on the bark around injuries or canker. Picea abies_sentence_20

Taxonomy Picea abies_section_2

Populations in southeast Europe tend to have on average longer cones with more pointed scales; these are sometimes distinguished as Picea abies var. Picea abies_sentence_21

acuminata (Beck) Dallim. Picea abies_sentence_22

& A.B. Picea abies_sentence_23

Jacks., but there is extensive overlap in variation with trees from other parts of the range. Picea abies_sentence_24

Some botanists treat Siberian spruce as a subspecies of Norway spruce, though in their typical forms, they are very distinct, the Siberian spruce having cones only 5–10 cm long, with smoothly rounded scales, and pubescent (hairy) shoots. Picea abies_sentence_25

Genetically Norway and Siberian spruces have turned out to be extremely similar and may be considered as two closely related subspecies of P. abies. Picea abies_sentence_26

Another spruce with smoothly rounded cone scales and hairy shoots occurs rarely in the Central Alps in eastern Switzerland. Picea abies_sentence_27

It is also distinct in having thicker, blue-green leaves. Picea abies_sentence_28

Many texts treat this as a variant of Norway spruce, but it is as distinct as many other spruces, and appears to be more closely related to Siberian spruce (Picea obovata), Schrenk's spruce (Picea schrenkiana) from central Asia and Morinda spruce (Picea smithiana) in the Himalaya. Picea abies_sentence_29

Treated as a distinct species, it takes the name Alpine spruce (Picea alpestris (Brügger) Stein). Picea abies_sentence_30

As with Siberian spruce, it hybridises extensively with Norway spruce; pure specimens are rare. Picea abies_sentence_31

Hybrids are commonly known as Norwegian spruce, which should not be confused with the pure species Norway spruce. Picea abies_sentence_32

Cultivation Picea abies_section_3

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. Picea abies_sentence_33

It is used as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens. Picea abies_sentence_34

It is also widely planted for use as a Christmas tree. Picea abies_sentence_35

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. Picea abies_sentence_36

This is mainly a sign of gratitude for the aid these countries gave during the Second World War. Picea abies_sentence_37

In North America, Norway spruce is widely planted, specifically in the northeastern, Pacific Coast, and Rocky Mountain states, as well as in southeastern Canada. Picea abies_sentence_38

It is naturalised in some parts of North America. Picea abies_sentence_39

There are naturalized populations occurring from Connecticut to Michigan, and it is probable that they occur elsewhere. Picea abies_sentence_40

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. Picea abies_sentence_41

Seed production begins when the tree is in its fourth decade and total lifespan is up to 300 years in its natural range in Europe. Picea abies_sentence_42

Introduced Norway spruces in the British Isles and North America have a much shorter life expectancy. Picea abies_sentence_43

As the tree ages, its crown thins out and lower branches die off. Picea abies_sentence_44

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. Picea abies_sentence_45

The Norway spruce tolerates acidic soils well, but does not do well on dry or deficient soils. Picea abies_sentence_46

From 1928 until the 1960s it was planted on surface mine spoils in Indiana. Picea abies_sentence_47

Cultivars Picea abies_section_4

Several cultivars have been selected as ornamentals (‘Barrya’, ‘Capitata’, ‘Decumbens’, ‘Dumosa’, ‘Clanbrassiliana’, ‘Gregoryana’, ‘Inversa’, ‘Microsperma’, ‘Nidiformis’, ‘Ohlendorffii’, ‘Repens’, ‘Tabuliformis’, ‘Maxwellii’, 'Virgata', 'Inversa', ‘Pendula’), with a wide variety of sizes and shapes, from full-sized forest trees to extremely slow-growing, prostrate forms. Picea abies_sentence_48

They are occasionally traded under the obsolete scientific name Picea excelsa (an illegitimate name). Picea abies_sentence_49

The following cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit: Picea abies_sentence_50

Picea abies_unordered_list_0

  • ’Acrocona’ - 4 m (13 ft) tall and broadPicea abies_item_0_0
  • ’Clanbrassiliana’ - 1.2 m (3.9 ft) tall by 2.4 m (7.9 ft) broadPicea abies_item_0_1
  • ’Inversa’ - 9 m (30 ft) tall by 4 m (13 ft) broadPicea abies_item_0_2
  • ’Little Gem’ - 0.5 m (1.6 ft) tall and broadPicea abies_item_0_3
  • ’Nidiformis’ - 1.5 m (4.9 ft) tall by 4 m (13 ft) broadPicea abies_item_0_4

Other uses Picea abies_section_5

The Norway spruce is used in forestry for (softwood) timber, and paper production. Picea abies_sentence_51

The tree is the source of spruce beer, which was once used to prevent and even cure scurvy. Picea abies_sentence_52

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. Picea abies_sentence_53

It is esteemed as a source of tonewood by stringed-instrument makers. Picea abies_sentence_54

One form of the tree called Haselfichte [] (Hazel-spruce) grows in the European Alps and has been recognized by UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage. Picea abies_sentence_55

This form was used by Stradivarius for instruments. Picea abies_sentence_56

(see German Wikipedia for details). Picea abies_sentence_57

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. Picea abies_sentence_58

Longevity Picea abies_section_6

A press release from Umeå University says that a Norway spruce clone named Old Tjikko, carbon dated as 9,550 years old, is the "oldest living tree". Picea abies_sentence_59

However, Pando, a stand of 47,000 quaking aspen clones, is estimated to be between 80,000 and one million years old. Picea abies_sentence_60

The stress is on the difference between the singular "oldest tree" and the multiple "oldest trees", and between "oldest clone" and "oldest non-clone". Picea abies_sentence_61

Old Tjikko is one of a series of genetically identical clones growing from a root system, one part of which is estimated to be 9,550 years old based on carbon dating. Picea abies_sentence_62

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). Picea abies_sentence_63

Genetics Picea abies_section_7

The genome of Picea abies was sequenced in 2013, the first gymnosperm genome to be completely sequenced. Picea abies_sentence_64

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. Picea abies_sentence_65

A large proportion of the spruce genome consists of repetitive DNA sequences, including long terminal repeat transposable elements. Picea abies_sentence_66

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. Picea abies_sentence_67

Within populations of Picea abies there is great genetic variability, which most likely reflect populations' post-glacial evolutionary history. Picea abies_sentence_68

Genetic diversity can in particular be detected when looking at how the populations respond to climatic conditions. Picea abies_sentence_69

E.g. variations in timing and length of the annual growth period as well as differences in frost-hardiness in spring and autumn. Picea abies_sentence_70

These annual growth patterns are important to recognise in order to choose the proper reforestation material of Picea abies. Picea abies_sentence_71

Chemistry Picea abies_section_8

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. Picea abies_sentence_72

Piceol and astringin are also found in P. abies. Picea abies_sentence_73

Research Picea abies_section_9

Extracts from Picea abies have shown inhibitory activity on porcine pancreatic lipase in vitro. Picea abies_sentence_74

Synonyms Picea abies_section_10

Picea abies (L.) H. Karst is the accepted name of this species. Picea abies_sentence_75

More than 150 synonyms of Picea abies have been published. Picea abies_sentence_76

Homotypic synonyms of Picea abies are: Picea abies_sentence_77

Picea abies_unordered_list_1

  • Pinus abies L.Picea abies_item_1_5
  • Abies picea Mill.Picea abies_item_1_6
  • Pinus pyramidalis Salisb.Picea abies_item_1_7
  • Pinus abies subsp. vulgaris VossPicea abies_item_1_8
  • Abies abies (L.) DrucePicea abies_item_1_9

Some heterotypic synonyms of Picea abies are: Picea abies_sentence_78

See also Picea abies_section_11

Picea abies_unordered_list_2


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picea abies.