Black Hills spruce Is The Official State Tree Of South Dakota. South Dakota Adopted the Black Hills white spruce as the official South Dakota State Tree in 1947. Black Hills spruce is a naturally occurring variety of white spruce native to South Dakota and Wyoming. Black Hills spruce is more compact and slower growing than its eastern cousin, white spruce, and can live 150+ years.
National Tree Of South Dakota Black Hills spruce needles are denser and are darker in color, varying from bright green to bluish-green. The tree was first seen by French explorers in 1743. Black Hills spruce ranges from 30 to 60 feet in height and 15 to 25 feet in width. The Black Hills spruce tree is fairly drought resistant and prefers full sun exposure. State Tree Of South Dakota grows best in acidic, moist loams, but adapts to many soils including gravelly or sandy loams to fine clay soils. It is flooded intolerant and sensitive to soil compaction. Its USDA growth hardiness zone rating is 2.
South Dakota State Tree makes a good yard or ornamental tree and is a good winter cover. The seeds of the tree provide food for songbirds, upland ground birds, and small mammals. The bark is eaten by porcupines and the foliage is lightly browsed by deer. Black Hills spruce is used in conservation plantings and agroforestry windbreaks. The Plains Native Americans used the inner bark and shoots for food and the hardened sap for gum. They collected the spruce wood for tipi poles. Today the wood National Tree Of South Dakota is used for dimensional lumber, pulpwood, and is a popular Christmas tree species. In 1997, the National Capitol Christmas tree was a 63 foot Black Hills spruce from the Black Hills National Forest.
The State Tree Of South Dakota Black Hills spruce had a controversial start as South Dakota’s State Tree. Some people thought that the cottonwood would be more suitable as the State Tree due to its widespread distribution throughout the state. Others thought that the Black Hills spruce would be suitable because of its tricky and controversial scientific name. Both of these ideas were researched and dismissed by a joint committee and adopt Black Hills spruce as Official National Tree Of South Dakota.