This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
The two species of spruce, the black and the white, or, as they are more commonly called, the double and the single, are distinguished from the fir and the hemlock, in every stage of their growth, by the roughness of the bark on their branches, produced by little ridges, running down from the base of each leaf, and by the disposition of the leaves, which are arranged in spirals equally on every side of the young shoots. The double is distinguished from the single spruce by the darker color of the foliage, whence its name of Black Spruce, by the greater thickness in proportion to the length of the cones, and by the looseness of the scales, which are jagged or toothed on the edge.
The trunk of the double spruce is perfectly straight, and regularly tapering from the ground to the top. The bark is smooth, covered with thin narrow scales, which on old trunks become roundish. On the smaller branches and upper part of the trunk, these scales are downward continuations of the leaves, and often come off with them. The branches are in whorls of four or more, but except on small trees, the whorls are not very distinct, in consequence of the premature decay of two or more of the branches, and the fact that between the whorls are oecasionally scattered single limbs. When a tree stands by itself in a sheltered situation favorable to its growth, the stages or whorls are regularly disposed, and diminishing gradually in length from the ground to the top, form a conical head of striking, regular, and symmetrical proportions. To the unpracticed eye, this mathematical exactness of shape is beautiful, and the spruce is a favorite tree, and is often placed in the near vicinity of houses. But to one studious of variety and picturesque effect, the regular cone becomes stiff and monotonous, and the unvarying dark green of the foliage has a sombre and rather melancholy aspect.
But the dark foliage of this evergreen makes a fine appearance in winter.
Few evergreens are more beautiful for ornamental plantation than the Norway Spruce. It has a character of its own, which is very striking and peculiar, and we may add in a high degree valuable. Its graceful appearance when single or scattered, is extremely spirited, wild, and picturesque; its regular pyramidal conical figure, its long horizontal branches reaching to the ground, extending from the trunk in a graceful curve, which gives additional beauty to its expression, renders it particularly attractive; it forms a beautiful object, and becomes a truly majestic tree; and when judiciously introduced into artificial scenery, produces the most charming and unique effect.