Green (Unripe) Seed Cone and Foliage of Caucasian Spruce (Picea orientalis), June, Delaware

Photo of Caucasian Spruce (Picea orientalis)

A green, unopened seed cone hanging down from a spruce twig, with the foliage having very short needles.

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Taken on Jun. 29, 2020

This photo shows the unripe, unopened seed cone of a Caucasian spruce (Picea orientalis) planted in landscaping in Delaware.

Both the needles and cones are much smaller than those of the sometimes-confused Norway spruce (Picea abies), which is more frequently used in landscaping. The needles of the Caucasian spruce are extremely short and among the shortest of any spruce. In this picture, the foliage seems to have a slightly bluish color but this is primarily a function of the lighting when this photo was taken. In general the foliage is much less bluish than that of other spruces such as the black spruce (Picea mariana), which also has short needles.

In this photo when you closely examine the cone, you can see that the exposed cone scales tend to be rounded at the bottom, and have a fairly broad shape, different from the more diamond-shape of Norway spruce. Also note that the surface of the cone is rather shiny. This luster is relatively short-lived and will be completely lost by the time the cone ripens and opens. However, it does contrast with the lack of such luster or glossy texture on the Norway spruce cones at a similar level of ripeness, visible in this photo.

Photographer & Copyright

© Alex Zorach

Photo Source

CC BY-SA 4.0

Inclusion in Plant ID / Comparison Guides

This photo is featured in 1 plant ID/comparison guide:

collage of Norway Spruce and Caucasian Spruce

Norway Spruce (Picea abies) vs. Caucasian Spruce (Picea orientalis)

Updated January 16th, 2023

These two species are easily confused; both are tall and have dark green foliage and similar bark. They are easily told apart by needles and twigs, cones, and form. Both are widely planted in landscaping in Eastern North America, with Norway spruce more common. Norway spruce has widely established in the wild whereas Caucasian spruce has generally not done so. Both species are shade-tolerant; Norway spruce is more tolerant of poor drainage.

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