Spruce and fir tree ID – Spruce and fir tree leaves consist of rows of flat needles on either side of a shoot. Spruce have needles on woody pegs where they join the shoot and Firs have needles on ‘pads’ where they meet the shoot.

Spruce and fir tree ID – The trees can be identified by the length, shape and colour of the needles and their arrangement on the shoot.  Click on any photo to enlarge it. You may also need to look at the cones on the tree. To go to the Spruce and Fir Cone Key click HERE
To go to back to the Conifer Leaf Key click HERE
Click on any tree name in red for a full tree description
The photo here shows a Colorado Spruce shoot with needles attached by wooden pegs on the left and a European Silver Fir shoot with needles on green pads on the right.
mountain pine cone


Austrian pine cone


Scots Pine cone


Stone Pine cone


Monterey Pine cone


Arolla Pine cone


Bhutan Pine cone



The leaves of Pines, ‘true’ Cedars, Larches, Spruces, Firs and the Common Juniper are long and thin and needle-like and are simply called needles. Pine needles are bundled together, usually in clusters of 2,3 or 5. The number in the bundle can help to ID the tree. The needles are joined at the base near the shoot and the bundle of needles is called a fascicle. Where the fascicle joins the shoot there is a basal sheath which is initially transparent. Individual Spruce and Fir needles are arranged in ranks on either side of the shoot. In some the needles are in flat ranks but in others they may stick out in all directions. On some needles there are lines of white dots. These are called stomata. They are pores which allow gases to pass in and out of the leaves. The pattern of dots can be used to ID Conifer Trees. Larch and ‘true’ Cedar needles are in clusters of 20 to 45 on short shoots called spurs. The leaves of the Common Juniper are needle-like and finely pointed.