The Norway spruce (Picea abies) is a popular choice for Christmas trees. The fast-growing tree is valued for its timber, which is used to make packing cases, paper pulp and sounding boards and posts for violins, according to "Trees" by Colin Ridsdale. The native habitat of the tree is mountainous forests in Europe, but the tree has been naturalized in the Northeast, Midwest and southeastern Canada. The trees reach a maximum height of 130 feet and spread 25 to 40 feet in width. The Norway spruce grows best in moist soils.
Bark, Trunk and Roots
The bark of the young Norway spruce is dark reddish-pink, becoming dark purple with round or oval scales that peel off as the tree matures. The trunk, which can measure up to 4 feet in diameter, is wider at the base and grows straight, according to the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. The tree has a shallow, dense root system that grows near the surface of the soil and the base of its trunk.
Leaves and Branches
A conifer, the Norway spruce has shiny, dark green needles instead of leaves. The 3/4-inch-long needles are four sided and rigid with a sharp point at the tip. When crushed, the needles give off a citrus fragrance. The branches and twigs hang downward, giving the tree a conical shape.
Flowers and Fruit
Both the male and female flowers are found on the same tree and bloom in the spring. Female flowers are purple-red and usually found at the top of the tree. Male flowers turn from red to golden and fall after releasing pollen in the spring, according to "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trees of the World." The tree's female flowers produce cylindrical brown hanging cones that grow up to 6 inches long.