Eastern hemlock

Silhouette - eastern hemlock
  • Latin name: Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carrière
  • French name: Pruche du Canada
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 183397
Description

Leaves

  • Twig showing leaf-pegs and needle attachment (left); needle cross section (right) - eastern hemlock
  • Twig with needles and seed conelet - eastern hemlock

Form

  • Slightly tapered, flat
  • Finely toothed
  • Upper surface grooved
  • Tip blunt, rounded or notched
  • Needles arranged in 2 ranks, with a few shorter ones on the upper side

Length

  • 10–20 mm

Colour

  • Upper surface shiny green
  • Whitened on lower surface with well-defined lines of white dots on either side of midvein with a clear green margin

Buds

Form

  • Ovoid, hairy

Length

  • About 2 mm

Colour

  • Brownish

Twigs

Form

  • Slender, hairy
  • Arranged in flat sprays

Colour

  • Yellowish-brown

Seed cones (mature)

  • Seed cone - eastern hemlock
  • Cone scale; outer surface with bract (left), inner surface with winged seed (center), winged seed inner surface and seed (right) - eastern hemlock

Form

  • Ovoid
  • Pointed

Length

  • 12–20 mm

Colour

  • Purplish-brown

Structure

  • Stalks 2–3 mm long, slender, hairy
  • Scales few, thin, roundish
  • Margins smooth or faintly toothed

Timing

  • Cones open in autumn
  • Seeds shed in late autumn and winter
  • Cones stay on tree into the following season

Bark

Form

  • Scaly when young
  • Becoming deeply furrowed with broad, flat-topped ridges

Colour

  • Outer bark with dull reddish-purple layers
  • Inner bark bright reddish-purple
  • Mature bark dark brown

Wood

Texture

  • Weak

Colour

  • Heartwood light orange-yellow

Morphology

  • Separation between the annual rings and along radial lines often occurs in living trees

Uses

  • Coarse lumber

Size

Height

  • To 30 m

Diameter

  • To 100 cm

Maximum age

  • 600 years

Tree form

  • Silhouette - eastern hemlock

Forest-grown

Trunk

  • Strongly tapered
  • Leading shoot oblique

Crown

  • Dense, conical, becoming ragged and irregular with age
  • Branches slender and flexible, spreading horizontally from the trunk, drooping at the end
  • Dead branches persist

Root system

  • Shallow, wide-spreading

Habitat

Site

  • Various soil types
  • Requires a cool moist site
  • Small trees persist in closed stands for many decades

Light tolerance

  • Very shade-tolerant

Associated species

  • Found in pure stands or mixed with yellow birch, eastern white pine, red spruce, white spruce, sugar maple, and American beech

Range

Eastern Canada, mainly in the Maritime provinces

Insects and diseases

Insects and diseases that are found most frequently and/or that cause the most damage in our Canadian forests.

Photos
  • Eastern hemlock
  • Eastern hemlock
  • Eastern hemlock
  • Eastern hemlock
  • Eastern hemlock
  • Eastern hemlock
  • Eastern hemlock
  • Eastern hemlock
  • Eastern hemlock
Distribution map
Distribution map - eastern hemlock
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