Spruce/Fir Zone

Animals

Golden-Mantled Ground SquirrelGolden-Mantled Ground Squirrel: This is not a chipmunk. Chipmunks all have stripes that run through the eyes, and true chipmunks are not able to hibernate. This ground squirrel builds up multiple layers of fat through the summer, then hibernates from October through May. These animals can survive right up to the tree line.

 

Three-Toed WoodpeckerThree-Toed Woodpecker: Preferred food of these birds are larvae of spruce bark beetles, although they will lap up sap from the wells of sapsuckers. They are confined to high elevations and are found almost exclusively in the Spruce/Fir Life Zone in Northern Arizona. They nest in snags in early May, with clutch sizes of three to seven (typically four) eggs.

 

 

Trees

240px-Abies_lasiocarpa_26008Cork Bark Fir: These trees will hybridize with white firs, and are distinguished based on their bark and dark purple to black cones. The cork bark fir has deep purple cones which point upward. Cork nark firs have smooth, gray bark as younger trees, and rough scaly bark as older trees. Various types of the cork bark fir are found in Western North America.

 

220px-Picea_engelmannii_UGA1Englemann Spruce: Like most conifers, these spruce have both male and female cones, with the male cones (or pollen organs) on the lower branches, and the female cones on the top of the tree. The Englemann spruce has orange-brown cones which hang down from branches. Slow-grown higher altitude Englemann spruces are popular for  musical instrument building.

 

Flora

Clematis columbianaClematis columbiana
Rock Clematis can be found in high elevations in rocky areas. It has purple or sometimes white flowers that bloom May to September. The fruits produce are attached to feathery plumes which can be used as fire starter or as insulation in shoes. Clematis has been used medicinally by many Native American tribes for a variety of aches and pains.

 

Fragaria virginianaFragaria virginiana
Virginia Strawberry is similar to the strawberries you would find in a grocery store. The fruit is edible and can be made into jams or sauces. The leaves can be made into a tea. It makes a beautiful groundcover.