The Spruce of Stadsskogen

Photo showing the large spruce of  Stadsskogen, Uppsala.
Photo: Gustaf Granath

In the 1960s, many Norway spruces were cut down in the northern half of Stadsskogen, but luckily this giant was left behind. It has now become the largest spruce of Stadsskogen, and possibly of the whole city. Nobody knows how old it is – in order to determine the age you have to take a core sample which entails a risk of hurting the tree.

Norway spruces can live for up to 400 years, but old does not always mean large. The tallest tree in Sweden (until it died in 2021) was almost a youth; a 49 meters high and 130 years old Norway spruce. The Spruce of Stadsskogen is not quite as large, but with its 36 meters it still reaches higher than most 10 story buildings.

A stately giant

  • Height: 36 m
  • Diameter: 1,3 m
  • Circumference: 4,1 m
  • Volume of the stem: 14 m3
  • Above-ground biomass: 4,1 metric tons
  • Below-ground biomass: 1,2 metric tons
  • Total biomass: 5,4 metric tons
  • Carbon stored in stem and branches: 1,9 metric tons, which corresponds to 6,9 tons of
  • carbon dioxide

The Spruce of Stadsskogen, 36 meters high and 1,3 meters wide, weighs no less than 5,4 tons. Most of the weight comes from the stem which contains about 14 cubic meters of wood, but branches, needles and roots also contribute with hundreds of kilograms.

Trees absorb carbon in the form of carbon dioxide from the air, and about 1,9 tons of carbon is stored in the stem and branches of this tree. That means the Spruce of Stadsskogen has absorbed almost 7 tons of carbon dioxide to build up its stems and branches. As a comparison, the Swedish consumption-based emissions are approximately 8 tons per person and year. So, in one year the average person in Sweden has emitted more carbon dioxide than the Spruce of Stadsskogen has absorbed throughout its life.

The most common tree

When Carl Linnaeus described the Norway spruce in the 18th century he placed it in the pine genus, Pinus. Nowadays it has its own genus, Picea, where blue spruce (Picea pungens), white spruce (Picea glauca) and several others are also included. Among them, only the Norway spruce, Picea abies, occur naturally here, and it is not exactly an unusual sight in the forest. It is in fact Sweden’s most common tree, closely followed by the Scots pine.

Spruce forests extend over the whole country (even though it is actually not native to the south-western parts), most of Scandinavia and eastern Europe as well as parts of central Europe and Russia.

For how long have Norway spruces grown here?

The oldest finding of Norway spruce in Sweden is 14.000 years old. At that time, almost the entire country was still covered in ice, making it difficult for the spruce to spread. Even after the ice melted, it had a hard time colonizing the land. It took thousands of years before the Norway spruce finally expanded and became common in almost the whole country. It started colonizing from the north and probably reached Uppland about 2.000 years ago, making it a late addition to the Swedish forests.

Many areas of use

Out of all plants, it is probably safe to say no one gets decorated more than the spruce. About three million Christmas trees are sold annually in Sweden, but bringing in the Christmas spirit is not the only usage of Norway spruce. It forms a great material for construction work and to produce paper. Additionally, chemical and physical processing can

Last modified: 2023-04-12