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Yellow Spruce

The Picea Rubens is commonly known as Blue Spruce, Eastern Spruce, He-balsam, Red Spruce, West Virginia Spruce, as well as Yellow Spruce

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Growing Regions

Red spruce occurs from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, west to Maine, southern Quebec, and southeastern Ontario, and south to central New York, northeastern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, and northeastern Massachusetts. Its range extends south in the Appalachian Mountains of extreme western Maryland, eastern West Virginia, northern and western Virginia, western North Carolina, and eastern Tennessee [48].


General Information

The accepted scientific name for red spruce is Picea rubens Sarg. There are no subspecies, varieties, or forms [48,64]. Natural hybrids with black spruce (P. mariana) have been reported [9,48].

Red spruce is a common dominant or codominant in the red spruce and the
spruce-fir forests of the northeastern United States and adjacent

Shrub associates of red spruce in the Adirondack Mountains of New York
include red raspberry (Rubus idaeus), dwarfed blackberry (R. pubescens),
hobblebush (Viburnum alnifolium), Canada yew (Taxus canadensis), and
American fly honeysuckle (Lonicera canadensis).  Ground layer herbs
include wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis), Aster acuminatus, yellow
beadlily (Clintonia borealis), and common wood-sorrel (Oxalis montana).
Common bryophytes found in old-growth red spruce forests in the
Adirondacks include Brotherella recurvans, Schreber's moss (Pleurozium
schreberi), Polytrichum ohioense, mountain fern moss (Hylocomium
splendens), Bazzania trilobata, ptilium (Ptilium crista-castrensis),
Drepanocladus uncinatus, Dicranum scoparium, and D. montanum [47].

In the southern Appalachian Mountains, arboreal associates include
Fraser fir (Abies fraseri), yellow buckeye (Aesculus octandra), sweet
birch (Betula lenta), and black cherry (Prunus serotina) in addition to
those found in the northern part of its range [59,79,87].  Understory
associates in openings include rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp.),
American mountain-ash (Sorbus americana), and wild raisin (Viburnum
cassinoides).  Other understory associates include highbush cranberry
(Viburnum edule), mountain holly (Ilex montana), mountain laurel (Kalmia
latifolia), speckled alder (Alnus rugosa), pin cherry (Prunus
pensylvanica), serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), raspberries (Rubus
spp.), and blueberries and huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.).  In closed
red spruce stands, mosses, lichens, and clubmosses predominate in the
understory along with wood sorrel (Oxalis spp.), trillium (Trillium
spp.), and checkerberry wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) [79].

Publications describing habitat or cover types in which red spruce is
dominant or codominant include:

 (1)  Proceedings of the Region 9 Land Systems conference on the White
        Mountain National Forest [5]
 (2)  The Hubbard Brook ecosystem study: composition and dynamics of the
        tree stratum [11]
 (3)  Ground vegetation patterns of the spruce-fir area of the Great     
        Smoky Mountains National Park [14]
 (4)  Spruce-fir forests of the coast of Maine [16]
 (5)  Forest type studies in the Adirondack region [31]
 (6)  The classification and evaluation of site for forestry [33]
 (7)  The identification and description of forest sites [34]
 (8)  Old-growth forests of Adirondack Park, New York [47]
 (9)  Vegetation-environment relationships in virgin, middle elevation
        forests in the Adirondack Mountains, New York [68]
(10)  Natural ecological communities of New York State [71]

Much of the information presented here is attributed to:
Sullivan, Janet. 1993. Picea rubens. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available at USDA Forest Service.

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