Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
General: Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) is a large evergreen tree growing from ninety to two-hundred feet high. The needles are short stalked, flat, finely toothed, irregularly spare, and of unequal length (five to twenty millimeters long). The seed cones are ovoid, short-stalked, brown, with many thin papery scales, stalkless, and hanging down at the end of the twigs. The bark is smooth when young, reddish-brown, becoming darker, and deeply furrowed with flat-topped scaly ridges (Farrar 1995).
Distribution: Western hemlock is native in northwestern California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alaska, Idaho, and Montana (McMinn & Maino 1963). In California, western hemlock occurs near the coast in scattered localities from Del Norte County southward to the vicinity of Elk Creek, Mendocino County (Ibid.). In Oregon and Washington, it inhibits the Coast Ranges and Olympic Mountains, extending eastward to the Cascades (Ibid.). For current distribution, please consult the PLANT Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.