Foliage of Caucasian or Oriental Spruce (Picea orientalis), November, Delaware

Photo of Caucasian Spruce (Picea orientalis)

A gloved hand holding a bunch of fine-textured branching foliage of a spruce tree, with very short, bright green needles.

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Taken on Nov. 3, 2020

This photo shows the foliage of a Caucasian spruce (Picea orientalis), also called "Oriental spruce", planted in landscaping in Delaware. This species is occasionally used in landscaping in North America, less widely than the Norway spruce (Picea abies), which is also introduced. Unlike the Norway spruce, Caucasian spruce rarely escapes into the wild, perhaps as it is even less adapted to the climate here.

Note the very short needles on this species. The only other native spruce here which has such short foliage is the black spruce (Picea mariana), but it tends to have bluish foliage, has very different cones and form, and is rarely 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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