Sitka Spruce is one of the tallest and most magnificent species of trees! This evergreen tree is common in coastal and wet areas.
Height: 70 m.
Other Uses: Y
Soil: Moist, well-drained, damp soil.
Watering: Lots of water
Sun: Sunny to partial sun
Usually found at: Moist, well drained sites such as alluvial floodplains, marine terraces, headlands, recent glacial out-wash, avalanche tracks; also on old logs; typically at low to middle elevations
Leaves: Needles—yellowish green or blue- grey and prickly!
Bark: Reddish brown to grey-brown. Looks scaly.
Cones: Pollen cones – Red. Seed cones – 5-8 cm long, reddish brown.
First Nations uses: The sharp needles of spruce are believed to give it special powers for protection against evil thoughts. The Dtidaht and other Nuu-chah-nulth peoples use the bought in winter dance ceremonies to protect the dancers and to ‘scare’ spectators. Among the Haida, Tlingit, Tsunsgian and other central and northern coastal people, the inner bark is eaten fresh or dried into cakes and eaten with berries. the Makah eat the young shoots raw; these would have been an excellent source of vitamin C. The inner bark is eaten fresh as a laxative by the Nusalk. The pitch is often chewed for pleasure and could also be used as medicine for burns, boils, slivers and other skin irritations. Sitka spruce is believed to be useful as a medicine for gonorrhea, syphilis, colds, sore throats, internal swellings, rheumatism and toothaches. The roots of Sitka spruce are used to make beautifully twined water-tight hats and baskets, especially among the Haida, Tlingit and other northern coastal peoples. The roots are carefully pulled out from sandy ground in the early summer, briefly ‘cooked’ in the fire to prevent them from turning brown, then peeled, split and bundled for later use.
Note: Native plant sales are pick-up only at Suwa’lkh School (1432 Brunette Ave in Coquitlam). Email suwa’firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.