The name red spruce derives from the generally reddish brown appearance of the forest in its natural range, where in the eyes of local foresters it is distinguishable from the darker black (P. mariana) and lighter white (P. glauca) spruces. All three species grow in the same area of eastern North America. The range of the red spruce is the most Atlantic of the three. At its southern limit it grows as a mountain species on the upper slopes of the Appalachians.
The red spruce has been grown at Mustila since 1914. The oldest plantation was from seed of New Hampshire provenance, and was one of the most successful trials of American spruce made at Mustila. It thrived for almost a century until the whole stand died in the years 2009-2011. An individual old specimen can still be found in the Ropakko grove, where its typical profile is easily distinguished, especially in winter. New red spruce plantings were made in 2010 towards Nokkala, using two separate Canadian provenances.