The shoots are whitish to pale buff, and glabrous (hairless). The leaves are needle-like, 1.7-3.2 cm long, slender, rhombic to slightly flattened in cross-section, glossy green on the upper side, with two conspicuous blue-white stomatal bands on the lower side. The cones are cylindric-conic, 6–12 cm long and 2 cm broad, green or tinged reddish when young, maturing glossy orange-brown to red-brown and opening to 3 cm broad, 5–7 months after pollination; the scales are moderately stiff, with a bluntly pointed apex.
- Conifer Specialist Group (1998). "Picea spinulosa". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2006. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 6 May 2006.