Norway Spruce - Picea abies


It is a large evergreen coniferous tree growing to between 115 and180 feet tall. The shoots are orange-brown and hairless and the leaves are needle-like, 12 to 24 mm long, quadrangular in cross-section (not flattened), and dark green on all four sides with inconspicuous lines. The cones are 9 to17 cm long (the longest of any spruce), and have bluntly to sharply triangular-pointed scale tips. They are green or reddish, maturing brown 5 to 7 months after pollination.

Similar Species

Sitka Spruce, and other ornamental Picea that may be planted in parks and gardens.  Similar to other Pinaceae species with needles borne singly, but Picea have needles on brown petiole-like pegs

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Leaves 4-angled in x-section, with faint whitish stripes; cones 10-20cm

Recording advice

Photos of cones and details of needles 


Often planted, but does sometime regenerate in the wild.

When to see it

All year round.

Life History


UK Status

Fairly widespread in Britain.

VC55 Status

Occasional in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 64 of the 617 tetrads.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map