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The norway spruce

Picea abies

The spruces (Picea sp.) are a very large genus of conifers and widely distributed throughout the temperate zone of the Northern hemisphere. The various species come in all possible shapes and sizes, and the colour of their needles ranges from every shade of green to grey. Some of the biggest trees, such as Norway spruce (Picea abies) in Northern Europe, are important for timber production, whereas the shrubs - especially many dwarf shrub varieties - are raised in specialized nurseries for horticultural purposes.
Norway spruce has a coppery-brown bark that flakes off in small, round scales, becoming dark-purplish in old trees; its twigs are orange-brown. It is not a very long-lived tree, seldom reaching more than 300 years of age.
The norway spruce
 
The norway spruce

Species characteristics

Norway spruce needles are dark green, hard and stiff, with a pointed tip and 1-2.5cm long. They grow each side of and above the shoot. The dark red female flowers are erect and concentrated in the upper part of the crown. The female cones hang from the branches; they are green in the summer, becoming brown as they mature; they are cylindrical, 10-18cm long and fall off the tree in one piece.
Norway spruce timber is used for indoor carpentry and for making furniture. This spruce is the well-known Christmas tree.
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