Sitka spruce

Sitka Spruce


Sitka spruce

Scientific name: Picea sitchensis
The Sitka spruce was introduced into the UK from North America in the 19th century. It has been widely planted as a forestry tree; look for classic needle-like leaves and pale brown, domed cones.

Species information


Height: up to 60m

Conservation status

Introduced, non-native species.

When to see

January to December


The Sitka spruce is a tall, evergreen conifer originally from the west coast of North America. It was introduced into the UK in 1831 and has become our most widely planted forest tree. Between the 1950s and 1980s, it was notoriously planted in large, regimented, dark and uniform forests.
It is conical in shape, displays needle-like, pointed leaves, and has large, domed cones that open their 'scales' to release the seeds inside.

How to identify

Spruce trees can be distinguished from fir trees because they have downwards-hanging cones; and they differ from pine trees by having shorter needles. The Sitka Spruce has pale brown, domed cones that are shorter (10cm long) than those of the Norway Spruce (15-20cm long).


Widely planted for forestry.

Did you know?

The Sitka spruce a very common forestry tree in the UK's uplands. It is used for timber and wood pulp.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to surveying for woodland plants.