Two Engelmann spruce at the Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Tilden Park, near Berkeley, California.
Engelmann spruce is common at high elevations throughout the Rocky Mountains and into Canada, but occurs only rarely in a few spots in the Klamath Mountains of northwestern California. Here Engelmann spruce grows in moist locations from 3,300 to 6,500 feet, and occurs with subalpine, Shasta red, and white firs, and sugar pine and incense cedar.
Sharp needles of Engelmann spruce grow singly, on a woody peg (typical of all spruces).
Smaller Engelmann spruce cone is next to quarter. Scales are papery and irregular, while the larger Brewer spruce cones have rounded scales. Both species occur in the Klamath Mountains of northwest California, and while Brewer spruce is uncommon, Engelmann spruce is rare. They may occur together according to Lanner, Conifers of California.