Forests of Crater Lake National Park
Engelmann Spruce (Picea Engelmanni)
The spruces are represented in the southern Cascades by one species. The Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmanni) is a small tree, usually about 70 feet high, and occasionally two or more feet through (fig. 16). It is a tree the requires a moist soil and low temperatures, and, therefore, is found mainly in a few favorable situations high in the mountains. In Anna Creek Canyon and along other water courses, where the stream beds are flanked by heavy timber, Engelmann spruce extends far down from its mountain habitat along the drier yellow-pine zone.
Ascending Anna Creek, the observer will note in the canyon among the firs and lodgepole pines the red-brown, scaly trunks and dense, pointed crowns of this spruce. The foliage, composed of sharp, stiff needles about 1 inch long, is dark blue-green, and extremely prickly to the touch. The cones are about 2 inches in length, with thin, crinkled, shiny brown scales, and are produced in abundance in the upper part of the crown. At higher elevations, up to 8,000 feet, the trees are more short and stunted, and taper rapidly from the ground.
Engelmann spruce is widely distributed throughout the Cascades and in the Rocky Mountains, from British Columbia, south to New Mexico. In parts of its range it is very abundant, and commercial use is made of the light, soft, yellowish wood.