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Life History and Disturbance Response of Picea mariana (Black Spruce)
Family: Pinaceae
Guild: pioneer, spring dispersed, moist-site, shade tolerant
Functional Lifeform: small-medium evergreen conifer
Ecological Role: This northern species can be found in mixed or pure stands. Although it can grow on a variety of locations it is most commonly found on wet, well-drained organic soils, such as those found in peat bogs and swamps. In the northern parts of its range it is found on sites underlain with permafrost.
Lifespan, yrs (typical/max): 200/280
Shade Tolerance: tolerant
Height, m: 5-18
Canopy Tree: yes
Pollination Agent: wind
Seeding, yrs (begins/optimal/declines): 10/30-40/?
Mast Frequency, yrs: 2-6yrs
New Cohorts Source: seeds or sprouts
Flowering Dates: late spring
Seedfall Begins: continuous, but highest in spring
Seed Banking: up to 25 yrs in the cones
Cold Stratification Required: no
Seed Type/Dispersal Distance/Agent: winged/100m/wind
Season of Germination: spring
Seedling Rooting System: shallow
Sprouting: layering
Establishment Seedbed Preferences:
Substrate: variable
Light: variable
Moisture: moist required
Temperature: neutral
Disturbance Response:
Fire: Black spruce is easily killed by fire due to its thin bark and shallow root system. However, fire killed trees release seed for up to five years following death. Fire opens the cones and accelerates seed fall. Fires that remove the surface organic layer provide good seedbeds for black spruce
Air Pollution: