Habit: slow growing spruce with spreading somewhat drooping branches and a dense narrow conical crown. The bark is a light red to grayish brown, soft and scaly. The dark blue-green leaves are stiff, four sided, and sharply pointed. The pendulous pollen cones are purple, while the seed cones are light to dark brown and usually 1-2.5 in (3-6 cm) long. When found at high elevations, Picea engelmannii is more shrub like and twisted and bent.
Ecology: found growing at mostly high altitudes, timberline on moist, north facing slopes and in canyons at elevations between 3200-9800 ft (1000-3000 m).
Growing Conditions: full sun to partial shade, moist, nutrient rich, well-drained soil. Cold hardy, a very low tolerance to heat and drought.
Used in the soundboards of violins, pianos and guitars. Also used in making alcoholic and non-alcoholic spruce beer.