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White Spruce vs Norway Spruce

These species are sometimes confused, although they are usually relatively easy to distinguish. In cold regions, they are both widely planted in landscaping.

White Spruce (Picea glauca)

Norway Spruce (Picea abies)

A conifer native to the northernmost reaches of North America; often found on richer sites than black spruce.
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.
Foliage pale bluish.
Photo © Derek, CC BY 4.0.
Foliage dark green.
Photo © Mark Apgar, CC BY 4.0.
Shorter cones (usually 2.5-6cm.) Each cone scale is smoothly rounded at the apex.
Photo © Shawn Treelife, Public Domain.
Longer cones (usually 12-16cm.) Each cone scale is notched at the apex.
Photo © Derek, CC BY 4.0.
Foliage upright.
Photo © Ben Armstrong, CC BY 4.0.
Foliage drooping, often strongly.
Photo © Mark Apgar, CC BY 4.0.
Slightly pointier crown, slightly narrower spread at base. Lower branches more horizontal. More erect foliage usually visible in silhouette.
Photo © Mary Krieger, CC BY 4.0.
Slightly rounder crown, slightly broader spread especially at base. Lower branches descending. Droopy foliage usually visible 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.

White Spruce (Picea glauca)

Norway Spruce (Picea abies)

Picea glauca | Go Botany (About This Site)

Picea abies | Go Botany (About This Site)

No corresponding entry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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