WSU Clark County Extension

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Engelmann Spruce

Scientific name: Picea engelmannii

Type:Coniferous trees
Plant Requirements
Zone:2 to 8
Sun:Full sun
Plant Characteristics
Height:80 ft
Width:30 ft
Additional Characteristics



Wildlife value

Description Engelmann Spruce is the dominant native spruce on the east slopes of the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest. It does grow however in lower elevations west of the mountains.

Engelmann spruce is a large tree, growing to over 80’ in height, with a width of only 30’. The crown is pyramidal with the top somewhat rounded and limbs extending to near the ground.

Needles are about 1 inch long, blue-green in color, stiff, sharp-pointed and 4-angled in shape, thus rolling easily between the fingers. They arise spirally from the twigs, with those on the bottom side tending to grow upward. On new growth white lines on each of the four sides give the needles a pale blue-green color very similar to Blue Spruce. Buds are small, up to one quarter inch in length and pale brown in color.

Both male and female cones are separate but on the same tree. The male cones are small and dark purple in color. Female cones are 1.5” to 3” long and have light brown papery scale whose tips are wavy. These cones are located in the upper portions of the tree and are pendulous.

The bark on a mature tree is thin reddish brown, becoming very scaly and loose over time.

Best on moist, well-drained soil in full sun. This species is often found in some of the highest and coldest forest environments in the western United States, characterized by long, cold winters with heavy snowpack and short, cool summers. It extends down to lower elevations along stream bottoms where cold air flows down the valley and collects in localized frost pockets.

None reported.
For assistance, contact Dr. Charles Brun (, (360) 397-6060 5701
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