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Know Your Conifers

Do you know your conifers? Nothing says Christmas quite like a fragrant, real tree – and they’re usually of the conifer variety.  But how do you choose the right one? It’s safe to say we all need a bit of Christmas cheer at the moment, so this month we’re taking a look at the centrepiece of your Christmas decor – the real Christmas tree.

What makes the perfect Christmas tree?

There are many varieties to choose from—more than 30 species of trees are grown for Christmas. Here at Crimbotrees, we supply the most popular conifers – Nordmann Fir and Norway Spruce. 

Whatever you choose, you should be looking for is a tree that will keep looking good over the festive period, but you also want a tree that will imbue your home with that real Christmassy fragrance, be just the right shape and sturdy enough to withstand the weight of those heirloom lights and decorations. 

The Norway Spruce is the source of spruce beer, which was once used to prevent and even cure scurvy due to its high Vitamin C content. 


In most conifers, the leaves take the form of long, thin narrow needles. As the name suggests, conifers are cone-bearing seed plants, and they reproduce by bearing cones, which is a sophisticated means of seed dispersal.

The conifer family includes spruce, fir, and pine trees.  Here at Crimbotrees we supply the very best Christmas trees – the Nordmann Fir and the Norway Spruce.

Norway Spruce or Nordmann Fir?

So how do you tell your spruce from your fir? To make sure you’re barking up the right tree – check the bark!  On a fir tree, the bark will be smooth to the touch, in contrast to the rough spruce bark. Now examine the needles.  On spruce trees, the needles are always attached individually; if they are clustered, you’re not looking at a spruce. If the needles are square shaped and break apart easily when you examine them, you’re probably looking at a spruce. 

Unlike spruce trees, the needles on firs are generally very sharply pointed, but also softer. The Nordmann Fir is favoured for its attractive foliage, needles that are not sharp and retain their needles better.

Cones and Conifers

On a spruce, the scales of the cone will be narrow and feel flexible. Compare this to the scales of a pine or fir cone, which feel rigid like the wood of the tree itself.Examining the cones of a fir tree will be harder than with other conifers as they grow near the top of the tree and fall apart before falling.This is probably the classic cone shape we’re all used to seeing so it’s easy to tell if you’re looking at a spruce or a fir cone. 

Crimbotrees real Christmas trees

Whatever you choose, rest assured that your Crimbotrees real Christmas tree will grace your living room right through the festive season.



Woodland Trust

Forestry Commission Scotland