Sitka spruce at Fort Clatsop: TTL

We saw this large Sitka spruce, Picea sitchensis, tree at Fort Clatsop, Oregon. This is where the Lewis and Clark expedition spent a long, wet winter in 1806. Lewis noted how this tree was commonly 27 feet in girth, with some trees reaching 36 feet around. This tree’s height averages 125-180 feet, and may reach over 250 feet. Sitka spruce can live up to 800 years.

Sitka spruce

Indigenous people used parts of spruce trees in several ways. Roots and cedar bark were woven into baskets and hats. The pitch was used as a varnish, to waterproof canoes, and chewed like gum. Various parts were used to treat diarrhea, constipation, and back aches. Sitka spruce was thought to possess “mystical powers and provided protection against evil thoughts.”

The tree’s fine-grained wood is both strong and lightweight. It is used in turbine blades, aircraft, sailboats, racing sculls, and oars. its unique qualities also make it a favorite in making musical instruments, including guitars, harps, violins, pianos, and flutes created by Native Americans.

Thursday Tree Love (TTL)

12 thoughts on “Sitka spruce at Fort Clatsop: TTL

  1. Trees give us so much, and also witness our history. Perhaps this particular tree didn’t witness the Lewis and Clark expedition overwintering but there must be trees in that area that did. It’s amazing to think of. Alana ramblinwitham

    • Yes, they are useful. I remember learning how to ID spruce trees–if you shake hands with one, they bite you back. Sharp needles!

  2. Such a tall tree and love that you shared about the tree. I haven’t seen one ever so I feel so good seeing this one today. Trees give us so much and we should be grateful to them. Thanks for joining and I hope to see you later in the week.

  3. Wow, what an amazing tree this is. Just trying to imagine its height.
    Sitka spruce trees are very common in Nilgiris, and himlayan region, India too. Also known as pine, fir or whitewood too. Spruce are available in varied types.

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