USA Official State Tree of Utah


Blue Spruce

(Pinaceae Picea pungens)
Adopted on February 20, 1933.


The blue spruce, Pinaceae Picea pungens, was chosen by the Utah State Legislature in 1933 to be the Tree. The tree is found in the Wasatch and Uinta mountains at elevations between 6,000 to 11,000 feet. It can be transplanted successfully and is widely used as an ornamental tree. Its foliage is generally silvery blue in color and has the ability to withstand temperature extremes.


The four-angled needles of the blue spruce are from 3/4 to 1 1/8 inches long and are dull blue green. This large tree has gray or brown bark that is furrowed into scaly ridges. Cones are from 2 1/2 to 4 inches long and are light brown with long, thin, irregularly toothed scales.


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.

  • 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.
Taxonomic Hierarchy
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


Dendrology at Virginia Tech
U.S. Department of Agriculture