The range of the white spruce covers the whole of the northern parts of North America, forming the tree-line together with black spruce (P. mariana) and tamarack (Larix laricina), aka eastern larch, American larch etc. It grows well on drier soils and on rich moraine soils. For paper and sawn timber it is one of the major species in the US, and THE major species in Canada. The crown resembles that of the Norway spruce but is denser and bluish in colour. The needles of some origins carry a strong scent.
There are many varied forms and colours of the white spruce. One of the most familiar forms is the pillar-like close-branched conical Picea glauca ‘Conica’, which needs protection in Finnish latitudes from severe frosts and winter sunlight to grow successfully.
In Mustila plantations dating from the early 1900s several different seed sources have been tried, from Ontario, Minnesota, Quebec. They are all smaller and slower-growing than local Norway spruce (P. abies), but have not suffered frost damage. However, they have aged faster than in their natural habitat. Only a few poor examples of the original plantings are to be found today, on Pohjoisrinne, or North Slope and in Lepistö. The latter are of the western form, var. albertiana, which in fact is an intermediate form between white spruce and Engelmann spruce.
In 2000, new plantings of both white spruce and the intermediate form were made in the spruce collection in the west part of the Arboretum. These plantings consisted of the best thriving provenances from central British Columbia.