The spruce was previously more widespread in the Royal National City Park, but storms and felling have contributed to its disappearance. A spruce forest is a valuable resource in many ways and it also provides a natural wilderness in an urban park which cannot be obtained from deciduous trees.
One of the Royal National City Park environments richest in birds is mixed forest where spruce predominates, for example at Isbladskärret, the Kaknäs shooting range, Fiskartorpet, Ulriksdalsåsen and Sörentorp.
Fiskartorp forest contains many extremely large spruces. In forests rich in spruce trees it is possible to find ‘woodpeckers’ anvils’ created by the great woodpecker. These are indicated by piles of spruce cones lying directly below the slit in the tree where the woodpecker wedged them in order to get at the seeds within.
The spruce is usually distinguished from the pine in a classic way: the spruce has short needles and the pine has long needles that sit in pairs. The branches of the spruce are evenly distributed around the trunk while those on a fully-grown pine gather at its crown. In some years the cones can be very plentiful, which gives rise to the expression ‘cone years’. Ancient spruce forests are the richest environments, in terms of number of species, that we have in Sweden.