Spruce - In the Wild - December

Plant Magic: A Year of Green Wisdom for Pagans & Wiccans - Sandra Kynes 2017

In the Wild

Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

*Also known as bog spruce and swamp spruce

Norway Spruce (P. abies syn. P. excelsa)

*Also known as mountain spruce

White Spruce (P. glauca)

*Also known as Black Hills spruce and Canadian spruce

Black spruce is native to North America and usually grows forty-five to sixty feet tall. Its branches are short, and its bark is scaly, grayish brown. Older trees have a spike-like crown. Its stiff, blue-green needles are less than an inch long. The egg-shaped cones are purplish brown, less than two inches long, and grow in clusters.

Native to Europe, Norway spruce has been widely planted in North America. It has a pyramid shape and typically reaches between forty and sixty feet tall, occasionally one hundred feet. Small branches hang from upward-arching main branches. The deep green needles are about an inch long, and the cylindrical cones nine inches.

White spruce is native to North America. It usually grows sixty to eighty feet tall but can reach over one hundred feet. The gray-brown bark is smooth but becomes scaly with age. Its blue-green needles are less than an inch long. The needles have a waxy, white coating, which is the source of this tree’s common and species names. When crushed, the needles are pungently aromatic. The pale brown cones are cylindrical and less than three inches long.

The genus name Picea was derived from the Latin pix, which means “pitch,” referring to the tree’s resin.120 Its symmetrical shape has made spruce the quintessential Yule tree in Europe and the United States. In Bavaria, Germany, only spruce and birch were special enough to be used for Maypoles.

Burn spruce needles or pieces of bark to stimulate psychic abilities especially for channeling. Spruce helps develop intuition and to discern when to act on it. Use needles or cones to connect with the energy of forest spirits. Place a sprig on your altar for aid in finding inspiration, deepening spirituality, or strengthening trust. Holding a cone grounds and stabilizes energy after ritual or magic work. Hang a bough anywhere in the home for protection. Also use needles or cones to raise energy in healing circles.

Spruce is associated with the elements earth and water. It is also associated with the following deities: Attis, Cerridwen, Cybele, Danu, and Poseidon.


Figure 46. Spruce is associated with the rune Dagaz.


While pine, fir, and spruce trees can be difficult to tell apart, you don’t have to be a botanist to figure out which is which. The cones and needles provide clues to help identify them.

Table 6. Pine, Spruce, and Fir Identification





Hang pointing down;

Rigid with woody scales

Hang pointing down;


Stand upright on branch


Grow in clusters

Grow individually;

Roll easily between fingers

Grow individually;

Flat, not easy to roll between fingers