Nova Scotia's provincial tree, the red spruce is found mainly in the Maritimes, eastern Quebec, and the Appalachian Mountains in the United States. It is uncommon in southern Ontario and north of the St. Lawrence River.
It grows to 83 feet (25 metres) high and has been known to live more than 300 years.
The red spruce is found in mature forests mixed with eastern white pine, balsam fir, eastern hemlock, and some broadleaf trees, such as yellow birch and sugar maple.
It prefers cool, moist sites, and is very shade-tolerant. It is highly susceptible to damage by windthrow.
A particular feature of the red spruce is that it hybridizes with the black spruce, making identification difficult where the ranges of red and black spruce overlap. It therefore takes experience to identify these trees correctly.
Needles, curved, four-sided, at sharp angles from twig.
Fruits, brown cones 1.2 to 2 in long (3 to 5 cm).