Strobili Are Striking

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In Northeast Ohio, the strobili, especially the female ones on the Picea abies or Norway Spruce, are spectacular.  These strobili or cones are located out on the very tips of main branches and because they are small right now, they’re sticking straight up.  The color of these immature female strobili ranges from a soft rose-pink to a deep, translucent burgundy.  Combined with the intriguing texture created by the scales arrangement, these cones just make you stop and say “WOW… how did I miss all of this before now?”


Female Cones, Norway Spruce
Female stobili of Norway Spruce


As the female cones increase in size, to become the largest strobili among the spruces, they’ll also lose their incredible color, begin to tip over, then finally drop to hang straight down.


Strobili types- young females, males yellow and mature
Strobili types- Young females (pink), males (small, yellowish) and mature (large, brown)


The male strobili are much smaller, loaded with pollen and are typically located more towards the bottom half of the tree.  Since these trees are wind pollinated, it then makes sense that the female cones or strobili are most often located in the upper half of the tree.  This allows the pollen to fall from the male strobili, the wind lifts the pollen, blowing it around on the wind and up into the open canopy in the top of the trees, to finally pollinate the female strobili.


Female and male (small, yellowish) cones
Norway Spruce cones -  females (pinkish) and males (yellowish)