Nov 20 2019
Though most Christmas trees are in the pine family, Pinaceae, they are not all pine trees. There are several genera in the family that represent pine, fir and spruce trees. You can tell them apart by looking at their needle-like leaves, and by how their cones grow.
Pine trees are in the genus Pinus. Their leaves are long, round needles that grow in bunches called fascicles. Each species of pine has fascicles with a certain number of needles. Their cones hang down from the branches.
Fir trees are in the genus Abies. Their needles are flat and have two white lines on the undersurface. They are attached to the branches at the base with structures that look like suction cups. Their cones stand upright on the branches, like candles.
Spruce trees are in the genus Picea. Their needles are four sided and are attached to the branches at the base by a peg-like structure. Their cones hang downward.