This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Evergreen conical trees, with linear short 4-sided leaves spreading in all directions, jointed at the base to short persistent sterigmata, on which they are sessile, falling away in drying, the bare twigs appearing covered with low truncate projections. Leaf-buds scaly. Staminate aments axillary, nearly sessile; anthers 2-celled, the sacs longitudinally dehiscent, the connective prolonged into an appendage; pollen-grains compound; ovule-bearing aments, terminal, ovoid or oblong; ovules 2 on the base of each scale, reflexed, ripening into 2 more or less winged seeds. Cones ovoid to oblong, obtuse, pendulous, their scales numerous, spirally arranged, thin, obtuse, persistent. [Name ancient.]
About 18 species, of the north temperate and subarctic zones. Besides the following, 5 others occur in the northwestern parts of North America. Type species: Picea Abies (L.) Karst., of Europe, which is much planted for ornament and is reported as spontaneous in Connecticut.
Twigs and sterigmata glabrous, glaucous; cones oblong-cylindric.
Twigs pubescent, brown; cones ovoid or oval.
Leaves glaucous; cones persistent.
Leaves not glaucous; cones deciduous.
Pinus alba Ait. Hort. Kew. 3: 371. 1789.
Picea canadensis B.S.P. Prel. Cat. N. Y. 71. 1888.
A slender tree, attaining a maximum height of about 110º and a trunk diameter of 30, but usually much smaller. Twigs and sterigmata glabrous, pale and glaucous; leaves light green, slender, 6"-8" long, very acute; cones cylindric or oblong-cylindric, pale, 1 1/2'-2' long, 6"-8" thick before the scales open; scales almost membranaceous, their margins usually quite entire; bracts incised.
Newfoundland to Hudson Bay and Alaska, south to Maine, northern New York, Michigan and South Dakota. Wood soft, weak, light yellow; weight per cubic foot 25 lbs. Called also Cat Pine or Spruce; and Single, Black or Skunk-spruce. Sometimes with a skunk-like odor. April-May.
Abies mariana Mill. Gard. Diet. Ed. 8, No. 5. 1768.
Pinus nigra Ait. Hort Kew. 3: 370. 1789.
Picea nigra Link, Linnaea, 15: 520. 1841.
Picea mariana B.S.P. Prel. Cat. N. Y. 71. 1888.
Picea brevifolia Peck, Spruces of the Adirondacks 13. 1897.
A slender tree, sometimes 900 high, the trunk reaching a diameter of 2°-3°, the branches spreading, the bark only slightly roughened. Twigs pubescent; sterigmata pubescent; leaves thickly covering the twigs, deep green, glaucous stout, straight or curved, rarely more than 1/2 long, obtuse or merely mucronate at the apex; cones oval or ovoid, 1'-1 1/2' long, persistent on the twigs for two or more seasons, their scales with entire or erose margins.
Newfoundland to Hudson Bay and the Northwest Territory, south to New Jersey, along the higher Alleghanies to North Carolina and to Michigan and Minnesota. Wood soft, weak, pale red or nearly white; weight per cubic foot 28 lbs. Called also Yew or Spruce Pine; He Balsam; Spruce Gum-tree; Juniper; and Blue, Double, White and Cat Spruce.
Pinus rubra Lamb. Pinus, 1: 43. pl. 28. 1803.
A slender tree, sometimes reaching a height of 100° and a trunk diameter of 4°, the branches spreading, the bark reddish, nearly smooth. Twigs slender, sparingly pubescent; sterigmata glabrate; leaves light green, slender, straight or sometimes incurved, very acute at the apex, 5"-8" long; cones ovoid or oval, seldom more than 1 1/2' long, deciduous at the end of the first season or during the winter, their scales undulate or lacerate.
Newfoundland to northern New York, Minnesota and along the higher Alleghanies to Virginia and Georgia. Ascends to 4500 ft. in the Adirondacks. Wood similar to that of the preceding species. May-June.
Picea australis Small, of the high southern Alleghanies with very slender leaves, glabrous sterigmata and smaller cones, may be specifically distinct.