This coniferous tree has stiff, prickly needles, approximately 15-25 mm long. The grey-brown, scaly "alligator skin" bark is distinctive.
Sitka spruce have both male and female cones. The female cones are produced primarily on the upper branches of the tree, while the male cones are produced on the lower branches. The cones are generally produced between April and June and ripen in August and September. The seeds are dispersed in the fall, generally beginning in October.