Known for its durable timber, the western hemlock is a species of large conifers found in the western coastal regions of North America. It is the dominant climax species in the forests west of the Pacific Coast Ranges.
|Scientific Name||Tsuga heterophylla|
|Other Names||Western Hemlock-Spruce, Pacific Hemlock, Coast Hemlock, West Coast Hemlock|
Height: 50 to 70 m (165 to 230 ft); occasionally grows up to 83.34 m (273.42 ft)
Trunk diameter: Up to 2.7 m (9 ft)
Leaves (Needles): Short-stalked, finely toothed, flat, 5-20 mm long, irregularly spare
Cones: Ovoid, short-stalked, thin papery scales; greenish to reddish-purple turning brown with age
Bark: Smooth and reddish-brown when young; becomes darker, ridged and scaly upon maturity
|Shape at Maturity||Narrow crown, down-sweeping branches, drooping lead shoot|
|Distribution/Range||Alaska, California, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington (United States); Alberta, British Columbia (Canada)|
|Growth Rate||Initially slow; once established, seedlings can grow at a rate of more than 24 inches per year|
Winter Conditions: Average winter temperatures range from -10.9° to 8.5° C
Summer Conditions: Average summer temperatures range from 11° to 20° C
Rain: 560-1730 mm per year (Rocky Mountains); 380-6650 mm per year (Alaska, British Columbia)
Sunlight: Tolerates shade
Soil Requirements: Moist, well-drained, acidic, light sandy, medium loamy
|Diseases and Pests||Dwarf mistletoe, Heterobasidionannosum, Phellinusweiri, Echinodontiumtinctorium, Rhizina undulate (root rot), Sirococcus strobilinus; western larch borer, weevil, and hemlock looper cause damage|
|Flowering/Fruiting||Floweringbegins in April, continues until May-June; cones mature 4-5 months after pollination, seeds ripen in September|
|Seed Production||Good cone crops occur after 25-30 years of age|
|Seedling Development||Germination is epigeal; seedlings are sensitive to cold, heat, drought, and wind|
|Wildlife Value||Black-tailed deer and Roosevelt elk feed on the leaves and twigs; black bear cut through the bark of pole-size trees; mountain beaver, brush rabbit, and snowshoe hare clip off branches and stems of seedlings|
|Uses||For wood pulp, poles, railway ties, pilings, construction lumber; as specimen trees, hedging plants, and bonsai|
|IUCN Conservation Status||Least Concern|
- In 1947, western hemlock was designated as the “Washington State Tree.”
- Native people used hemlock bark as a tanning agent and cleansing solution, owing to its high tannin content.
- Its inner bark was used by the Alaska Indians to produce coarse bread.
Published on January 22nd 2017 by admin under Hemlock.
Article was last reviewed on 5th December 2022.
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