Tree a Day ID – Picea rubens

My sketch above.

(Picea rubens Link)

These images are from Virginia Tech Department of Forest resources and Environmental Conservation  files. Cornell has such files also.

The taxonomic variety rubens is found in the Northeast US into Canada.


  • Upright and straight, with a narrow crown. It grows typically between 60 and 80 feet.


  • Needles: Sharply pointed, between 1/2 to 5/8 inches long and four-sided. They curve upwards and are yellow-green. Each needle is borne on a raised, woody peg.
  • Trunk: Long and straight.
  • Branches: Orangish brown, finely hairy.
  • Bark: Grayish brown on surface, ,more reddish-brown beneath with irregular, flaky patching.
  • Roots: shallow
  • Seed Cones: Monoecious; males cylindrical and are reddish but turn yellow-brown. Female cones are purplish green.

Disease and Pests: It has few diseases.

  • Needle Cast from Lirula macrospora
  • Wood rotting: Phellinus pini and Phaeolus schweinitzii,
  • Dwarf Mistletoe
  • Parasite, Arceuthobium pusillum
  • Yellow-bellied sapsuckers

To see the damage caused by dwarf mistletoe, click the link above.

Our friend Patty at Gardening Pomona did a wonderful post on British Columbia and highlighted the Western Red Cedar, Thuja plicata and the Pacific Dogwood. She noted the uses of the lumber and its resistance to insect damage, rot and decay. So you on the west coast are covered too with a Red Cedar.

As I mentioned, I will include previous ID posts for each category of trees that I identify. In time, we will have an archive of trees with information about each to click and compare. Click on the image and get taken to the information on White Spruce.

Our next ID will be the Blue Spruces, and there is more than one variety. I bet you only knew the Colorado Blue. We will complete the patriotic colors or red, white and blue spruce in our next ID.

Next post we are ‘Swimming with the Fishes’, so join us then.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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11 Responses to Tree a Day ID – Picea rubens

  1. lifeshighway says:

    I have been enjoying this series. I know so little about spruce and furs coming from pine tree country.

  2. Red spruce is all over the island in Maine where my family goes. It is the predominant tree. I always recognize by a slightly yellow caste and its rubbery but prickly texture.

  3. Bom says:

    This is all so informative. We do not have spruce so it is nice to learn about other tree species.

  4. Dear Donna, I want to be able to sketch like you! Great series. P x

  5. Greenearth says:

    What a beautiful tree.

  6. Christine says:

    This is a fabulous series – I hope I recognize some of “my” trees in time :). Oh to be able to draw as you do …

  7. We don’t have red spruce here. It is a nice tree and very tall! Your sketch is amazing!

  8. Garden Sense says:

    Very interesting profile, and I love your sketches!

  9. Donna says:

    Sorry just getting here….my day job has been too busy this week…great post once again..thx for these incredible lessons…

  10. patty says:

    The only spruce I am truly well familiar with is the Norway Spruce and so now I can make the appropriate comparisons with the eastern red spruce. They are quite different. Your drawing is really good, perhaps a final exhibit online is in order when you have completed your tree ID series. I appreciate the link Donna.

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