Latin Name: Picea glauca
French Name: Épinette Blanche
English Name: White Spruce
Origin: Quebec, Canada
Harvest time: May to October
Distilled Part: Twigs and needles
Organoleptic Specificities: Liquid, clear light yellow to greenish, balsamic and woody
Components: β-pinene, α-pinene, camphene, limonene, bornyl acetate, Δ3-carene
White Spruce, Picea glauca (glauca: bluish or greenish grey). This tree covers almost all of Canada’s forested territory, with the exception of the Pacific Coast. It is one of the most important species for the pulp, paper and lumber industries. It is used among other things for building materials and for the manufacture of packing boxes, pallets and plywood. Its acoustical qualities in make it a good material for use in the manufacture of violins, pianos and guitars.
Its size can reach up to about 30 meters high and 5 meters wide. Its shape is usually pyramidal, with a conical crown. Its horizontal or descending branches wear greenish, very fragrant bluish needles and when crushed smell of camphor. The White Spruce’s cones are light brown and measure 4 to 6 cm long. The tree’s bark is light grey, thin and smooth, but becomes scaly and dark grey over time. White Spruce is notable for its adaptability to rocky terrain where the organic layer is very thin. It is particularly well adapted to loamy, moist or well-drained soils. The oldest specimens can live up to 200 years.
In the context of climate change, an increase in temperature and precipitation in the North would stimulate the reproduction of White Spruce.
White Spruce provides food and shelter to several wildlife species. Its abundant seeds are an important source of food for birds and small mammals. Every two years to six years, the White Spruce produces an abundant harvest of cones that generate more seeds than can be consumed by the local animals, which promotes the reproduction of this essential tree.
The White Spruce has always had a privileged place in Native American communities. All parts of this tree were used for different daily needs. This conifer has many therapeutic properties. A decoction of bark, needles or resin can help in cases of respiratory tract infections. First Nations peoples prepared a poultice with the inside of the bark cooked and crushed to heal wounds, cuts and reduce swelling. The resin was used as a laxative. As for the rotten wood, it was dried and reduced to fine powder in order to relieve skin rashes. In addition, shamans brushed people with the tops of these trees to rid them of their ills.
Alongside its medicinal use, the White Spruce was highly appreciated for the manufacture and maintenance of utilitarian objects. Its lightness and resistance made it a preferred wood for the manufacture of tents, canoes, paddles, shovels, etc. Rootlets were used for baskets, snowshoes, fishing lines and also to sew the bark of the Birch tree onto the frame of canoes.
Facts to note: White Spruce resin is the oldest form of “chewing gum” and “spruce beer” is made with its needles and cones.
Recommendations: Essential oils are wonderful for the well-being of humans, animals, insects and plants. There are many books that discuss aromatherapy and you should refer to them for proper and safe use. We also recommend that you consult a professional in aromatherapy who will be able to target the biochemical groups and aromatic molecules of essential oils and thus increase the effectiveness of your care.
Essential oils should be stored in a cool, dry place, protected from light and air.