Plant DetailShow Menu

Yellow Spruce Picea rubens

Phonetic Spelling
PY-see-uh ROO-benz
Description

The red spruce can be commonly found along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the highest peaks of North Carolina and Virginia and increasing in numbers into Maine.  It is often found growing with Fraiser Fir trees at higher elevations.  It is a cool region tree that requires full sun, ample moisture, and acidic, well-drained soil, even being able to grow on rocky soil.  It forms a broader crown than other eastern spruces, still maintaining a narrowly conical form, and its needles are a brighter yellow-green.  Its trunk has a diameter of 1 to 2 ft. and it may grow to 150 feet tall in areas where humidity and rainfall are abundant. 

The wood is commonly used for the production of musical instruments such as guitars, organ pipes, piano sounding boards, and violins, as its uniform texture, high elasticity, and defect free form meet the high standards for this production.

The sawdust, resin from the trunk and the needles can cause dermatitis in some.  It dislikes summer heat.  It is sensitive to air pollution which may be contributing to its declining numbers in the wild.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#sun#acidic soil#wildlife plant#native tree#conifer#moist soil#wind tolerant#well-drained soil#food source fall#food source herbage#rocky soils tolerant#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#butterflies#larval host#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#sun#acidic soil#wildlife plant#native tree#conifer#moist soil#wind tolerant#well-drained soil#food source fall#food source herbage#rocky soils tolerant#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#butterflies#larval host#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Picea
    Species:
    rubens
    Family:
    Pinaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Wood used for construction of musical instruments; used to be used to construct airplanes
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern North America
    Fire Risk Rating:
    extreme flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Nesting site for birds, Twigs, leaves, and seeds are eaten by wildlife
    Dimensions:
    Height: 60 ft. 0 in. - 70 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 18 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Oval
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2b, 2a, 3b, 3a, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Green to purple cones, mature to a reddish brown lustre. 1.25 to 2 in. long with smooth-edged scales. They fall off shortly after ripening. Displays in October.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    No flowers
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    4 sided dark yellow-green needles that are 1/2 to 5/8 in. long. They are pointed and shiny.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Red/Burgundy
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Irregular
    Bark Description:
    Dark gray-brown to reddish-brown broken into irregular scales. The inner bark that shows between the scales is often reddish.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stout yellow-brown stems.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds