Nordmann Fir (Abies nordmanniana)
The Nordmann Fir has gained popularity in recent years due to its good needle retention and ability to look good throughout the festivities. Often described as being non-drop, this isn't strictly true, but it will retain its needles better than the Norway Spruce. It has soft, deep green foliage, smooth grey bark, and a good triangular shape. It tends to be slightly more open and less dense than the Norway. The needles when crushed give an aromatic citrus smell.
Norway Spruce (Picea abies)
The Norway spruce continues to be a popular choice in the UK and is the traditional species for the British Christmas tree. It is the species you will find erected in Trafalgar Square and 10 Downing Street each year. It has a triangular shape, dark green needles, gently drooping branches, and a distinctive 'pine' fragrance. Its dense bushy shape is excellent for decorating. It is relatively quick growing which explains its apparently cheap price compared to other species. Its one slight drawback is that needle retention is not its strongest point. It also needs to be kept watered and away from direct heat.