Pine, Spruce, or Fir?


White Fir, Photo Credit: Curtis Young

Everyone has probably struggled with plant identification at some point in their life. While some of us may still be learning -it can be on ongoing process, others may have mastered the skills involved in identifying plants in the landscape, woodlots or streetscapes.

Evergreens can be a little tricky. At a quick glance, and even more so from a distance, many may look similar and can even be a little confusing. There are distinguishing characteristics that can be clues in the identification of evergreens. To aid in the task of evergreen identification, Curtis Young, Extension Educator in Van Wert County, recently published an OSU FactSheet titled, "Is It Pine, Spruce, or Fir?"

Curtis covers three types, or genera, of evergreens that one might encounter in Ohio. Those three include:   

  • Pinus spp. (pines)
  • Picea spp. (spruce)
  • Abies spp. (fir)

For each, details on the needle and cone characteristics are described. Common species are also listed for each genus. 

Impress your friends and family this holiday season as you identify cut and live Christmas trees. Note this FactSheet does not include Plantus plasticia or Plantus fakeus - artificial trees. A little horticulture humor! 

But seriously, check out this FactSheet online at: https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/anr-80

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