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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 2 | Pinaceae | Picea

2. Picea mariana (Miller) Britton, Sterns & Poggenburg, Prelim. Cat. 71. 1888.

Black spruce, ├ępinette noire

Abies mariana Miller, Gard. Dict. ed. 8, Abies no. 5. 1768; Picea brevifolia Peck; P. mariana var. brevifolia (Peck) Rehder; P. nigra (Aiton) Link; Pinus nigra Aiton

Trees to 25m (often shrublike); trunk to 0.25m diam.; crown narrowly conic to spirelike. Bark gray-brown. Branches short and drooping, frequently layering; twigs not pendent, rather slender, yellow-brown, pubescent. Buds gray-brown, ca. 3mm, apex acute. Leaves 0.6--1.5(--2)cm, 4-angled in cross section, rigid, pale blue-green, glaucous, bearing stomates on all surfaces, apex mostly blunt-tipped. Seed cones 1.5--2.5(--3.5)cm; scales fan-shaped, broadest near apex, 8--12 ┬┤ 8--12mm, rigid, margin at apex irregularly toothed. 2 n =24.

Muskegs, bogs, bottomlands, dry peatlands; 0--1500m; St. Pierre and Miquelon; Alta., B.C., Man., N.B., Nfld., N.W.T., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que., Sask., Yukon; Alaska, Conn., Maine, Mass., Mich., Minn., N.H., N.J., N.Y., Pa., R.I., Vt., Wis.

To a limited extent, Picea mariana hybridizes with P . rubens , e.g., on disturbed sites in eastern Canada. Natural hybridization with P . glauca , though reported, remains unverified (A.G. Gordon 1976).

Because Picea mariana is a small tree, it has limited commercial value. Frequently it is harvested with P . glauca and used for pulp.

Black spruce ( Picea mariana ) is the provincial tree of Newfoundland.


Little, E. L. Jr. and S.S. Pauley. 1958. A natural hybrid between black and white spruce in Minnesota. Amer. Midl. Naturalist 60: 202--211. Morgenstern, E.K. and J.L. Farrar. 1964. Introgressive Hybridization in Red Spruce and Black Spruce. [Toronto.] [Univ. Toronto, Fac. Forest., Techn. Rep. 4.]


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