Tsuga mertensiana

mountain hemlock

Habit: slow growing, mountain hemlock has a slender conical crown with a tilted or drooping leader. Slightly pendulous branchlet tips distinguish mountain hemlock. The gray to dark brown bark is thin and deeply furrowed into scaly plates. Blue-green, rounded leaves are needle like, uniform in length and positioned randomly and densely, along the branches. Pendulous seed cones are slender, cylindrical 1-3 in (2.5-7.6cm) long and purple, maturing to dark gray after pollination.

Ecology: found in moist boggy areas, mixed coniferous forests and cold snowy alpine sites from 4000 ft (1200 m) to timberline in the mountains from Alaska to California.

Growing Conditions: full sun to partial shade moist to wet nutrient rich soil preferring mild to cold winters and short, warm to cool growing seasons.

Mountain hemlock stands provide good hiding and thermal cover for many wildlife species.

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Type: Evergreen Coniferous Tree
Height: 30-100 ft (9-30 m)
Width: 1-3 ft (30-90 cm) trunk
USDA Zones: 4-10
Map courtesy of USDA-NRCS Plants Database.