Home » Compare Plants

Eastern Hemlock vs Norway Spruce

Eastern hemlock and Norway spruce are easy to distinguish up-close, but are sometimes confused from a distance because both have dark green needles and drooping branches and foliage; both are widely used in landscaping, and are highly shade-tolerant.

Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Norway Spruce (Picea abies)

A large, shade-tolerant evergreen conifer native to the Appalacians and northeastern U.S.
Native to Europe, and widely planted in northeastern North America, occasionally established in the wild. The spruce in North America with the widest growth habit.
Tiny cones.
Photo © Fluff Berger, CC BY-SA 4.0.
Huge cones.
Photo © Derek, CC BY 4.0.
Short, flat, round-tipped needles.
Photo © Nova Patch, CC BY-SA 4.0.
Long, pointed needles which are not flat, bur rather, diamond-shaped in cross-section.
Photo © Mark Apgar, CC BY 4.0.
Bark of mature trees has long, vertical cracks and plates.
Photo © Jacob Ke, CC BY 4.0.
Bark of mature trees is scaly, tending to crack into roughly-round scales.
Photo © Marie Studer, CC BY 4.0.
Silhouette looks feathery due to small needles.
Photo © Laura Costello, CC BY 4.0.
Individual branches look thicker in silhouette.
Photo © johnyochum, CC BY 4.0.

References & External Resources

These short lists show only links helpful for ID. For a complete list of references and resources also covering other aspects of ecology, visit the links section of the full article on each plant, whcih is the first entry here.

Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Norway Spruce (Picea abies)

Tsuga canadensis | Go Botany (About This Site)

Picea abies | Go Botany (About This Site)

Tsuga canadensis (Eastern Hemlock) | Illinois Wildflowers (About This Site)

Picea abies (Norway Spruce) | Illinois Wildflowers (About This Site)

Eastern Hemlock | Virginia Tech Dendrology Factsheets (About This Site)

Norway Spruce | Virginia Tech Dendrology Factsheets (About This Site)

Tsuga canadensis | Flora of North America (About This Site)

Picea abies | Flora of North America (About This Site)

Tsuga canadensis | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)

Picea abies | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)