23 December 2020
When the first Christmas trees were decorated in 16th century Germany the species of choice was the abundant Picea abies or Norway spruce. The Christmas tradition spread to North America and so did the tree. Nowadays you can find Norway spruces planted across the landscape of northeastern North America.
Some are in plantations.
Many stand alone.
The trees are easy to identify because their drooping branchlets make the tops of the branches look bare. They also have the largest cone of any spruce …
… with papery thin scales and winged seeds.
If you find a mature Norway spruce deep in Pennsylvania’s woods, chances are you’ve found the site of an old homestead. It had to be planted in North America.
(photos form Flickr Creative Commons License and Wikimedia Commons; click the captions to see the originals)