There are three other identified spruce trees in City Park. The Black Hills Spruce adds to the name confusion as it is also known as the White Spruce, Western White Spruce, Alberta Spruce, etc. To further cloud matters, there is a tree called a Black Spruce, which is distinct from the Black Hills Spruce. And on top of that, some sources identify the Black Hills Spruce as Picea Glauca, the exact same taxonomic name as the White Spruce. On the City Park Self-Guided Tree Tour the tree is identified as Picea glauca var.densata. Apparently the Black Hills Spruce is more of a geographically distinct tree rather than a biologically distinct tree.
The Trees of North America website shows the range of this tree as being the northern part of the continent at a latitude that does not include Colorado but does include Wyoming. A Black Hills Spruce, the official tree of South Dakota, was the Capitol Christmas Tree in 1997. It is often used as a home Christmas tree.
One of the more unique spruces in the park is the Oriental Spruce (Picea orientalis), which is native to Asia Minor. This tree is said to grow to 50 to 60 feet and twice that height in its native environment. The specimen in City Park is more bush-sized. Although this is a slow growing tree, I suspect this little tree has not been in the park all that long.
The branches with their needles almost looks fake!
The Norway Spruce (Picea abies) is not native to the North American continent but is widespread in Europe. It has been “introduced” to the eastern part of North America. This tree is often grown in this country for Christmas trees, taking eight to eleven years to reach the ideal height of six to seven feet. One problem of using this in-house is that it tends to lose its needles rather quickly and must be freshly cut to be used for any length of time.
The lumber from this tree is probably of more importance in Europe than it is in this country, but due to many of its properties–spreading root system, hardy wood, a shape which keeps it from suffering much damage in ice and snow–it makes a good windbreak tree.
The branches can also be used for spruce beer, the lumber for sounding boards, pulp, and paper. The pitch can be made into varnish and has medicinal uses.
The Oriental Spruce E47
is in an entirely new area of the park. To find this tree, drive all the way down Oak Street into the ballpark parking area or enter from Mountain Avenue. As Mountain is separated by a median, you will need to be heading east to access the parking lot. The tree, looking more like a shrub, is in the strip between the parking lot and the New Mercer Canal, toward the more northern end of this land. It is the only evergreen in the area.
Both the Norway Spruce (B112) and the Black Hills Spruce (B111) are accessible from the diagonal parking on Oak Street between Jackson and McKinley. Both trees are across from 1320 West Oak, the large red brick house with the sloping roof. In both instances the tags are easy to find.