Characteristics of Canadian Hemlock Tree (Tsuga canadensis) in the Wild

Tsuga canadensis
Canadian hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), also known as Eastern hemlock and Pruche du Canada, is a coniferous tree that originated in eastern North America.

This tree is thought to originate from northeast Minnesota, then spread eastward through southern Quebec to Nova Scotia, and the southern region of the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia and Alabama. Canadian hemlock is found mainly on rocky ridges, ravines, and hillsides at an altitude of 600-1,800 m above sea level.

Canadian hemlock grows well in shade and long-lived trees. The oldest recorded Canadian hemlock species, found in Tionesta, Pennsylvania, which is estimated to be over 570 years old. The height is 53 meters and the stem diameter is 1.75 meters.

Canadian hemlock trees grow in limited areas, namely in areas with cold and humid climates at temperatures of -12 °C to 16 °C.

Canadian hemlock is currently threatened with extinction by Adelgid Wool Hemlock (Adelges tsugae), a sap-sucking insect that was accidentally introduced from East Asia to the United States in the 1920s and was first discovered in the late 1960s.

 
Hemlock trees in the southern Appalachian Mountains have been infected by insects in the past 5-7 years, resulting in thousands of hectares of Canadian hemlock trees dying in the last 2-3 years.

Efforts to keep representative examples in both public and private lands are ongoing. A project called “Tsuga Search”, funded by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is underway to save the remains of a surviving Canadian hemlock tree.

 

Characteristics of the Canadian Hemlock Leaf

Tsuga canadensis Leaf
Source : flickr.com/Dendroica cerulea

The leaves have a length of 15-20 mm, the bottom of the leaf glaucous with two stomata ribbons that are clearly visible, while the top is green to brass.

 

Characteristics of the Canadian Hemlock Fruit

Tsuga canadensis Fruit
Source : flickr.com/Al Fischer

The fruit is a cone with seeds, ovoid, and usually measuring 1-3 cm and 1-1.5 cm wide.

 

Characteristics of the Canadian Hemlock Tree

Tsuga canadensis Tree
Source : flickr.com/Blake C. Willson

Trees can grow to heights of 30 meters, but trees in the wild have heights of 50 meters. The crown is conical, while the bark is brown, scaly, and cracked, especially on old trees.

At present, there are around 300 Canadian hemlock cultivars that have been selected for use as ornamental trees. Many of them are small trees and shrubs.

 

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