White Spruce

Photograph: Sharron R. McMillan

Photograph: Sharron R. McMillan

Spruce (White) Picea glauca

Spruce needles produce a pungent odor when bruised and are deer proof. I guess that is why two trees have survived since 1996 when my friend dug up little seedlings from Saskatchewan and brought them to us on the plane in milk cartons.

Aboriginal people used the strong pliable roots to make lacing for birch bark canoes and the gum for waterproofing the birch bark seams.
Lumber for boxes, crates, piano sounding boards, violins, paddles and oars.
Green branches are useful as a sleeping mat when camping and are sometimes boiled with the cones to make medicinal tea.
Young spruce tips are chewed for an itchy throat and any kind of flu or cold or steeped in boiling water to make a tea high in Vitamin C.  Beer is made from young growing tips in the spring.
Salve made by mixing animal fat or Vaseline with equal amounts of sap in warm water to an even consistency, cooled and used when needed.
Cones are boiled to make a tea, to relieve coughing and sore throats, mouth wash for treating infections, toothache and for cleaning phlegm from the throat.
Inner bark was chewed to relieve colds or to maintain good health. It could also be applied to wounds as a bandage and aided in healing.
Old sap used to draw out slivers and chewed like gum and also to sooth irritated skin. When applied to cuts it helps healing and protects from infection.
Spruce gives clarity of mind and spirit, encourages protection, steadiness, strength and inner unity.

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