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Picea sitchensis
Sitka spruce

Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) is a large, fast-growing conifer native to the west coast of North America, from California in the south to Alaska in the north. It is the largest of the Picea species and able to reach up to 100 m, living up to 500 years in its natural habitat. The tree was introduced to Europe in the 19th century and is now an important timber tree in many European countries, including Britain, Ireland, Norway, France and Denmark.

The tree produces light wood that is easy to work with, used for music instruments, fencing, shipbuilding and other constructions. Historically, the tree was used to construct the frames of early aircrafts. The wood is, with its long fibres and pale colour, also suitable for producing pulp in the paper industry.

In contrast to many other conifers, the sitka spruce favours maritime climates and is also tolerant to the exposure of salt. In Europe, suitable conditions similar to its native climate are found along the northern and western coasts. The tree grows on various soils but prefers deep and moist ones. It requires humid climatic conditions in elevations up to 900 m. The tree is not able to grow in dry areas and does not tolerate air pollution.

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