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Colorado State Tree

Colorado Blue Spruce

Colorado Blue Spruce

(Pinaceae Picea pungens)

Adopted on March 7, 1939

The Colorado Blue Spruce, (Pinaceae Picea pungens,) was adopted as the official state tree on March 7, 1939, by a resolution of the Colorado General Assembly. C. Parry set about exploring and "botanizing" this famous landmark in 1862. On this expedition, Charles Parry came across the stately, pyramidal spruce tree with stiff blue-gray to dark green needles that we call blue spruce or Colorado blue spruce today. The blue spruce is also sometimes referred to as the silver spruce and pino real.

This tree is known for its stately, majestic, symmetrical form and its beautiful silver-blue color.

Colorado State Tree: Colorado Blue Spruce

Colorado Blue Spruce

In Colorado, it grows in small, scattered groves or singly among ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, alpine fir and Englemann spruce. In the northern parts of its range it grows at the 6,000 to 9,000 feet elevation while in the southern parts of its range at 8,000 to 11,000 feet. Its color ranges from green to blue to silver, and is sometimes called the silver spruce. Colorado school children voted on Arbor Day in 1892 to name the blue spruce as the state tree, however it was not until 1939 that the Colorado Blue Spruce was officially designated. Citation: House Joint Resolution 7, 1939.

It is a slow-growing, long-lived tree of medium size that, because of its symmetry and color, is planted extensively as an ornamental. Because blue spruce is relatively scarce and the wood is brittle and often full of knots, it is not an important timber tree.

Common Names of the Colorado Blue Spruce

The Colorado Blue Spruce also called Colorado blue spruce, Colorado spruce, silver spruce, and pino real.

Identification of the Colorado Blue Spruce

Colorado Blue Spruce
  • Leaf: Evergreen, stiff, 3/4 to 1 1/4 inch long, yellow-green to bluish or white. Needles are very sharp, and have an acidic taste.
  • Flower: Monoecious; males yellow-brown to purple, scattered throughout trees; females purple, upright, in tops of the trees.
  • Fruit: Cones are 2 to 4 inches long, cylindrical, light brown in color. Cone scales are pointed with jagged-erose margins. Maturing in autumn.
  • Twig: Stout (when compared to other spruces), hairless, orange-brown. Needles are borne on woody pegs. Bud scales are noticeably reflexed.
  • Bark: Gray to red-brown, young trees with small, thin scales - older trees developing furrows.
  • Form: A medium to large tree with pyramidal form. Branches appear layered, especially with age.

Colorado Law

The Colorado state tree was adopted by Concurrent Resolution and is not recorded as statutory law.

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Colorado Blue Spruce

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
    Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
    Division: Coniferophyta - Conifers
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae - Pine family
Genus: Picea A. Dietr. - spruce
Species: Picea pungens Engelm. - blue spruce

State Trees
State Trees
All of the state trees, except the Hawaii state tree, are native to the state in which they are designated.
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