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We have moved along to the spruces. Their needles grow as singletons, instead of in bunches of 2-5 the way the needles on most pines grow, and each needle emerges from a small, long-lasting bump on the twig. See how much I’m learning already? I could not have said what distinguishes spruce from pine until this evening.

Sitka, Picea sitchensis, are the tallest spruce of the approximately 35 species in the genus, and one of the tallest trees overall. In old spruces, the branch nearest to the ground might be 40 meters up. Their native range is mostly north of California (Sitka, as in Alaska, is an accurate common name). And their needles are fun to draw. I felt like I imagine one does when making an architectural drawing.


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