Picea abies – Norway Spruce

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Norway Spruce (Picea abies) is a common spruce tree that came from Europe. Spruce trees have needles that have 4 sides. The needles of spruces are individually attached to the stem, unlike pine needles which are grouped in fascicles.

All spruces produce edible tips. The flavor of spruce tips varies by species from being citrusy to more astringent.

Spruce trees must be differentiated from toxic Yew trees. Yew trees have flat needles that grow from the sides of the stem, while spruce trees have needles with four sides that come out from all sides of the stem.

The Norway Spruce is the only spruce that has branchlets that hang down from the main branches.

Norway Spruces are conical in shape and can reach up to 120 feet tall. They have large cones that are 4-6 inches long and hang down from the branches. The cones are mostly found on the upper portion of the tree.

Spruce tips can be used in both savory and sweet dishes. They can also be turned into a tea that is high in vitamin C.

Written by Amy Demers, founder of the Connecticut Foraging Club. To learn more about foraging in Connecticut, check out our upcoming classes.

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