Foliage and Buds of Caucasian or Oriental Spruce (Picea orientalis), July, Delaware

Photo of Caucasian Spruce (Picea orientalis)

Branching foliage of a spruce tree showing very short, bright green needles, light brown, fuzzy twigs, and brown buds

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Taken on Jul. 7, 2020

This photo shows the foliage of a Caucasian spruce (Picea orientalis) tree, also called "Oriental spruce". This species is occasionally used in landscaping in North America, but generally does not escape into the wild.

Note that the foliage here has very short needles, among the shortest of any spruce (Picea) species. The twigs are also pubescent (hairy). The twigs and foliage of this species are most similar visually to the native red spruce (Picea rubens), which also has pubescent twigs and needles of a rich green color. That species however tends to have slightly longer needles, on average, and its buds also tend to be a richer reddish color. It also tends to occur predominately in the wild and is less commonly used in landscaping.

Photographer & Copyright

© Alex Zorach

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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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