Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.
Search native plant database:
Picea mariana (P. Mill.) B.S.P.
USDA Symbol: pima
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Black spruce is a very narrow, spire-like tree, growing 30-60 ft. tall with a limited spread. Descending branches, with dark, bluish-green needles, have upturned ends. Lower limbs sweep the ground. Tree with open, irregular, conical crown of short, horizontal or slightly drooping branches; a prostrate shrub at timberline.
Black Spruce is one of the most widely distributed conifers in North America. Uses are similar to those of White Spruce; however, the small size limits lumber production. The lowest branches take root by layering when deep snows bend them to the ground, forming a ring of small trees around a large one. Spruce gum and spruce beer were made from this species and Red Spruce.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May
AK , CT , IL , MA , ME , MI , MN , NH , NJ , NY , PA , RI , VT , WI Canada: AB
, YT Native Distribution:
Lab. & Nf. to the Yukon Valley, s. in mts. to PA, c. WI, c. MN & B.C. Native Habitat:
Peat bogs; floodplains; swamps USDA Native Status: L48(N), AK(N), CAN(N),
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
High Light Requirement:
Sun , Part Shade , Shade Soil Moisture:
Moist , Wet CaCO3 Tolerance:
Low Soil Description:
Wet to mesic, acidic soils. Conditions Comments:
An extremely slow grower. Shallow root system makes this tree
susceptible to wind throw. Some disease and insect problems. A cold-climate tree,
restricted in the southern part of its range to cold sphagnum bogs. The Alaska variety is less than 30 ft. tall and often shrubby.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Twigs, leaves and seeds are important wildlife food. Very valuable as nesting sites for birds.
Use Other: Long wood fibres of black spruce are most commonly used for pulpwood, especially for producing high quality papers. A thing of the past now is the gathering of spruce gum, by gummers on snowshoes, carrying long poles fitted with chisels to knock off the resinous exudations. In the old lumber camps, spruce gum was the chewing gum. (Peattie)
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Columbia silkmoth, Bog Elfin butterfly (Callophrys lanoraieensis).
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
PropagationDescription: Seeds of most Picea species germinate promptly without pretreatment. Cuttings root in low percentages.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Pretreatment of most Picea species is not necessary, but cold stratification has been used for some of the species.
Commercially Avail: yes
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
American Native Nursery
- Quakertown, PA
Recommended Species Lists
Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.
View Recommended Species page
Record Modified: 2011-01-06
Research By: TWC Staff