Blue spruce is the state tree of both Utah and Colorado and is a popular species of tree around Christmastime. The scientific name for the species is Picea pungens, which refers to its sharp, pointed needles.
The typical blue spruce in the wild grows to heights of between 80 and 100 feet, with a trunk that may be as thick as 2 feet. The needles can be 1 to 1.5 inches long and stick out from the branches in all directions.
The needles of a blue spruce have four sides; a cross-section view of one would reveal a diamond shape. The needles are bluish-gray to silver-blue, a feature which gives the tree its name.
The native range of the blue spruce is from eastern Idaho into western parts of Wyoming, and south into the middle of Colorado and Utah. New Mexico and Arizona are the southernmost part of its distribution and the tree typically grows at elevations between 6,000 and 11,000 feet.
Blue spruces mature slowly, but the tree is an extremely long-lived species, with some existing as long as 800 years.
Since blue spruce grows in wilderness areas, for the most part, its value as a timber tree is low. Wood from the tree serves as firewood and makes good poles and posts. The color of a blue spruce along with its shape when young makes it an ideal tree for Christmas.
- Colorado Blue Spuce:Hidden Spring Tree Farm
- A Guide to Field Identification-Trees of North America; C. Frank Brockman;1986
blue spruce, Christmas tree, state tree Utah Colorado
About this Author
John Lindell has written articles for "The Greyhound Review" and various other online publications. A Connecticut native, his work specializes in sports, fishing and nature. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years.