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''Tsuga heterophylla'', the western hemlock or western hemlock-spruce, is a species of
hemlock Hemlock may refer to: Plants *Several poisonous plants in the family Apiaceae **''Cicuta'' (water hemlock) **''Conium'', four species, of which ''maculatum'' is the only endemic outside of southern Africa; in history given to poison and execute p ...
native to the west coast of North America, with its northwestern limit on the
Kenai Peninsula The Kenai Peninsula ( Dena'ina: ''Yaghenen'') is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. ...
, Alaska, and its southeastern limit in northern
Sonoma County Sonoma County is a in the of . As of the , its population was 483,878. Its and largest city is . It is to the north of and the south of . It is west of and . Sonoma County includes the Santa Rosa-Petaluma , which is part of the --, CA . It ...
, California.Farjon, A. (1990). ''Pinaceae. Drawings and Descriptions of the Genera''. Koeltz Scientific Books .Gymnosperm Database
''Tsuga heterophylla''


Habitat

''Tsuga heterophylla'' is an integral component of Pacific Northwest forests west of the
Coast Ranges The Pacific Coast Ranges (officially gazetted as the Pacific Mountain System in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, prim ...
, where it is a
climax species Climax species, also called late Sere (ecology), seral, late-successional, K-selected or equilibrium species, are plant species that can germinate and grow with limited resources, like they need heat exposure or low water availability. They are the ...
. It is also an important
timber Lumber, also known as timber, is wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, sup ...

timber
tree throughout the region, along with many of its large coniferous associates.


Description

Western hemlock is a large
evergreen In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Anc ...

evergreen
coniferous Conifers are a group of cone-bearing seed plants The spermatophytes (; ), also known as phanerogams (taxon Phanerogamae) or phaenogams (taxon Phaenogamae), comprise those plants that produce seeds, hence the alternative name seed plants. They ...
tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including only wood plants with se ...

tree
growing to tall, exceptionally ,Tallest Hemlock, M. D. Vaden, Arborist
''Tallest known Hemlock, Tsuga heterophylla''
/ref> and with a trunk diameter of up to . It is the largest species of
hemlock Hemlock may refer to: Plants *Several poisonous plants in the family Apiaceae **''Cicuta'' (water hemlock) **''Conium'', four species, of which ''maculatum'' is the only endemic outside of southern Africa; in history given to poison and execute p ...
, with the next largest (
mountain hemlock ''Tsuga mertensiana'', known as mountain hemlock, is a species of hemlock Hemlock may refer to: Plants *Several poisonous plants in the family Apiaceae **''Cicuta'' (water hemlock) **''Conium'', four species, of which ''maculatum'' is the only ...
, ''T. mertensiana'') reaching a maximum of . The
bark Bark may refer to: * Bark (botany), an outer layer of a woody plant * Bark (sound), a vocalization of some animals Places * Bark, Germany * Bark, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Poland Arts, entertainment, and media * ''Bark'' (Jefferson Airp ...
is brown, thin and furrowed. The crown is a very neat broad conic shape in young trees with a strongly drooping lead shoot, becoming cylindric in older trees; old trees may have no branches in the lowest . At all ages, it is readily distinguished by the pendulous branchlet tips. The shoots are very pale buff-brown, almost white, with pale pubescence about long. The
leaves A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the vascular plant plant stem, stem, usually borne above ground and specialized for photosynthesis. The leaves, stem, flower and fruit together form the shoot system. Leaves are ...

leaves
are needle-like, long and broad, strongly flattened in cross-section, with a finely
serrate Serration is a saw-like appearance or a row of sharp or tooth-like projections. A serrated cutting edge has many small points of contact with the material being cut. By having less contact area than a smooth blade or other edge, the applied pres ...
d margin and a bluntly acute apex. They are mid to dark green above; the underside has two distinctive white bands of
stoma File:LeafUndersideWithStomata.jpg, The underside of a leaf. In this species (''Tradescantia zebrina'') the guard cells of the stomata are green because they contain chlorophyll while the epidermal cells are chlorophyll-free and contain red pigme ...

stoma
ta with only a narrow green midrib between the bands. They are arranged spirally on the shoots but are twisted at the base to lie in two ranks on either side of the shoot. The
cones A cone is a three-dimensional space, three-dimensional geometric shape that tapers smoothly from a flat base (frequently, though not necessarily, circular) to a point called the Apex (geometry), apex or vertex (geometry), vertex. A cone is fo ...
are small, pendulous, slender cylindrical, long and broad when closed, opening to broad. They have 15–25 thin, flexible scales long. The immature cones are green, maturing gray-brown 5–7 months after pollination. The
seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was released to generally positi ...

seed
s are brown, long, with a slender, long pale brown wing.


Ecology

Western hemlock is closely associated with temperate rain forests, and most of its range is less than from the
Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. ...

Pacific Ocean
. There is however an inland population in the
Columbia Mountains The Columbia Mountains are a group of mountain ranges along the upper Columbia River The Columbia River (Upper Chinook language, Upper Chinook: ' or '; Sahaptin language, Sahaptin: ''Nch’i-Wàna'' or ''Nchi wana''; Sinixt dialect'' '') i ...
in southeast
British Columbia ( en, Splendour without diminishment) , image_map = British Columbia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = None , Slogan = Beautiful British C ...

British Columbia
, northern
Idaho Idaho () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Idaho
and western
Montana Montana () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Montana
. It mostly grows at low altitudes, from sea level to , but up to in the interior part of its range in Idaho. It is a very shade-tolerant tree; among associated species in the Pacific Northwest, it is matched or exceeded in shade tolerance only by
Pacific yew ''Taxus brevifolia'', the Pacific yew or western yew, is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is oft ...

Pacific yew
and . Young plants typically grow up under the canopy of other conifers such as
Sitka spruce ''Picea sitchensis'', the Sitka spruce, is a large, conifer Conifers are a group of conifer cone, cone-bearing Spermatophyte, seed plants, a subset of gymnosperms. Scientifically, they make up the phylum, division Pinophyta (), also known a ...

Sitka spruce
or
Douglas-fir The Douglas fir (''Pseudotsuga menziesii'') is an evergreen conifer species in the pine family, Pinaceae. It is native plant, native to western North America and is also known as Douglas-fir, Douglas spruce, Oregon pine, and Columbian pine. Ther ...

Douglas-fir
, where they can persist for decades waiting to exploit a gap in the canopy. They eventually replace these conifers, which are relatively shade-intolerant, in climax forest. However,
storm A storm is any disturbed state of an environment Environment most often refers to: __NOTOC__ * Natural environment, all living and non-living things occurring naturally * Biophysical environment, the physical and biological factors along with t ...

storm
s and
wildfire A wildfire, bushfire, wildland fire or rural fire is an unplanned, unwanted, uncontrolled fire BBQ. Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction ...

wildfire
s will create larger openings in the forest where these other species can then regenerate. Initial growth is slow; one-year-old seedlings are commonly only tall, and two-year-old seedlings tall. Once established, saplings in full light may have an average growth rate of (rarely ) annually until they are tall, and in good conditions still annually when tall. The tallest specimen, tall, is in
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park A small waterfall on the side of Rhododendron Trail Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is a state park, located in Humboldt County, California, near the town of Orick, California, Orick and 50 miles (80 km) north of Eureka, California, Eurek ...

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
,
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

California
(United States). It is long-lived, with trees over 1200 years old known. Western hemlock forms
ectomycorrhiza An ectomycorrhiza (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is ...
l associations with some well-known
edible fungi Edible mushrooms are the fleshy and edible fruit bodies of several species of macrofungi (fungi which bear fruiting structures that are large enough to be seen with the naked eye). They can appear either below ground (hypogeous) or above ground ( ...

edible fungi
such as chanterelles (''
Cantharellus formosus ''Cantharellus formosus'', commonly known as the Pacific golden chanterelle, is a fungus A fungus (plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word o ...

Cantharellus formosus
'', '''', and '' Craterellus tubaeformis''). It is capable of associating with wood-decay fungi in addition to soil fungi; this enables its seedlings to survive on rotting stumps and logs.


Uses

Western hemlock is the state tree of
Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (metonym) ** Washington metropolitan area, the metropolitan area centered on Washingt ...
.


Cultivation

Western hemlock is cultivated as an
ornamental tree Ornamental plants or garden plants are plants Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cel ...

ornamental tree
in gardens in its native habitats and along the U.S. Pacific Coast, where its best reliability is seen in wetter regions. In relatively dry areas, as at
Victoria, British Columbia Victoria is the capital city of the Canadian province The provinces and territories of Canada are sub-national divisions within the geographical areas of Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinc ...
, it is exacting about soil conditions. It needs a high level of organic matter (well-rotted wood from an old log or stump is best; animal manures may have too much
nitrogen Nitrogen is the chemical element upright=1.0, 500px, The chemical elements ordered by link=Periodic table In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science ...

nitrogen
and
salt Salt is a mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in pure fo ...

salt
), in a moist, acidic soil. It is also cultivated in
temperate In geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its populati ...
regions worldwide. It has gained the
Royal Horticultural Society The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), founded in 1804 as the Horticultural Society of London, is the UK's leading gardening Gardening is the practice of growing and cultivating plants as part of horticulture Horticulture is the art of cultiv ...
's
Award of Garden Merit The Award of Garden Merit (AGM) is a long-established annual award for plants by the British Royal Horticultural Society The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), founded in 1804 as the Horticultural Society of London, is the UK's leading gardeni ...
.


Forestry

When planted well upon the banks along a river, western hemlock can help to reduce erosion. Outside of its native range, western hemlock is of importance in
forestry Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, planting, using, conserving and repairing forest A forest is an area of land dominated by tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, ste ...
, (as a
softwood Scots Pine, a typical and well-known softwood Softwood is wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or t ...
) for timber and
paper Paper is a thin sheet material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition ...

paper
production, it is used for making doors, joinery and furniture. It can also be an
ornamental tree Ornamental plants or garden plants are plants Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cel ...

ornamental tree
in large
garden A garden is a planned space, usually outdoors, set aside for the cultivation, display, and enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature. The single feature identifying even the wildest wild garden A wildlife garden (or wild garden) is an Bioph ...

garden
s, in northwest Europe and southern New Zealand. It has
naturalised Naturalization (or naturalisation) is the legal act or process by which a non-citizen of a country may acquire citizenship Citizenship is the status of a person recognized under the law of a country (and/or local jurisdiction) of belongi ...
in some parts of Great Britain and New Zealand, not so extensively as to be considered an
invasive species An invasive species is an introduced organism that becomes overpopulated and negatively alters its new environment. Although their spread can have beneficial aspects, invasive species adversely affect the invaded habitat Ibex in an ...
, but an
introduced species An introduced species, alien species, exotic species, adventive species, immigrant species, foreign species, non-indigenous species, or non-native species is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, ...
tree.


Food

The edible
cambium A cambium (plural cambia or cambiums), in plants, is a tissue layer that provides partially undifferentiated cells for plant growth. It is found in the area between xylem Xylem is one of the two types of transport tissue Tissue may refer to: ...
can be collected by scraping slabs of removed bark. The resulting shavings can be eaten immediately, or can be dried and pressed into bread, as was done by the Native Americans of southeastern Alaska. The bark also serves as a source of
tannin Tannins (or tannoids) are a class of astringent 200px, A crystal of the astringent alum An astringent (sometimes called adstringent) is a chemical that shrinks or constricts body tissue In biology Biology is the natural scie ...
for
tanning Tanning may refer to: *Tanning (leather), treating animal skins to produce leather *Sun tanning, using the sun to darken pale skin **Indoor tanning, the use of artificial light in place of the sun **Sunless tanning, application of a stain or dye to ...
. Tender new growth needles (leaves) can be chewed directly or made into a bitter tea, rich in
vitamin C Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid and ascorbate) is a vitamin A vitamin is an organic molecule , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain ca ...

vitamin C
(similar to some other hemlock and pine species). Western hemlock boughs are used to collect
herring Herring are forage fish Forage fish, also called prey fish or bait fish, are small pelagic fish which are preyed on by larger predators for food. Predators include other larger fish, seabirds and marine mammals. Typical ocean forage fish fee ...

herring
eggs during the spring spawn in
southeast Alaska Southeast Alaska, colloquially referred to as the Alaska Panhandle or Alaskan Panhandle, is the southeastern portion of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United ...

southeast Alaska
. The boughs provide an easily collectible surface for the eggs to attach to as well as providing a distinctive taste. This practice originates from traditional gathering methods used by
Native Alaskans Alaska Natives or Alaskan Natives are indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a particular p ...
from southeast Alaska, specifically the
Tlingit people The Tlingit ( or ; also spelled Tlinkit; russian: Тлинкиты) are indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. Their language is the Tlingit language (natively , pronounced ),Pacific temperate rainforests heterophylla Trees of the Northwestern United States Trees of the West Coast of the United States
Flora of the Cascade Range *Flora Flora is all the plant life present in a particular region or time, generally the naturally occurring (indigenous (ecology), indigenous) native plants. The corresponding term for animal life is ''fauna''. Flora, fauna, and other forms of ...
Trees of Alaska Trees of British Columbia Trees of the Southwestern United States Trees of mild maritime climate Least concern plants Garden plants of North America Ornamental trees Trees of Subarctic America Trees of Western Canada