Habitat: Montane on both sides of Continental Divide
Height: 20-30 m
Description: The most common spruce in the Canadian Rockies, the white spruce is the principal low elevation spruce. The needles are approximately 1 cm in length, sharp and hard with a square cross-section. The bark is rough and scaly. Cones are approximately 5 cm long with hard, smooth scales.
Since white spruce and Engelmann spruce interbreed, it's difficult to tell them apart. Generally, if you are in the montane, it's white spruce. As you enter the subalpine, white spruce gives way to Engelmann. Perhaps the best way to distinguish the two is to look at the cones. The scales of white spruce cones are hard with smooth edges.
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