Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carr.

eastern hemlock

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

The mighty spires of eastern hemlock can tower over other trees, especially in old-growth forests and moist, cool ravines where it grows best and can live up to 800 years. Eastern hemlock produces tannins, which dye nearby streams a deep reddish-brown; these astringent chemicals were used for tanning leather in the 1800s. As a dominant and widespread tree, it provides nesting habitat for many species of birds. The sheltering, evergreen boughs are favored by deer for bedding grounds. Eastern hemlock is increasingly under threat from the hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae), a tiny white sucking insect that can defoliate whole stands.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), forest edges, forests, talus and rocky slopes, wetland margins (edges of wetlands)

Characteristics

Habitat
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Growth form
the plant is a tree
Leaf form
  • the leaves are needle-like
  • the leaves are scale-like
Leaf cross-section
the needle-like leaves are flattened (can't be rolled between the fingers)
Leaf arrangement
there is one needle-like leaf per node
Seed cone form
the seed cone is longer than wide, with woody scales attached at the base
Leaf clustering
the needle-like leaves are single, with one per node
Seed cone shape
the seed cone is ovoid (egg-shaped)
Leaves overlapping
the needle-like leaves are separate and do not hide the twig surface
Show All Characteristics
  • Buds or leaf scars
    Winter bud shape
    the winter buds are ovoid (egg-shaped)
  • Fruits or seeds
    Seed cone base
    NA
    Seed cone bracts
    the bracts are covered by the seed cone scales
    Seed cone form
    the seed cone is longer than wide, with woody scales attached at the base
    Seed cone scales
    NA
    Seed cone shape
    the seed cone is ovoid (egg-shaped)
    Seed cone symmetry
    the seed cone is symmetrical
    Seed cone umbo position
    there is no raised portion on the seed cone scale
    Seed cone umbo spine
    NA
    Seed wings
    the seeds have wing-like projections
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is a tree
  • Leaves
    Leaf arrangement
    there is one needle-like leaf per node
    Leaf base
    the base of the needle-like leaf is narrow (not expanded) at the attachment point
    Leaf clustering
    the needle-like leaves are single, with one per node
    Leaf cross-section
    the needle-like leaves are flattened (can't be rolled between the fingers)
    Leaf duration
    the needle-like leaves remain green all winter
    Leaf form
    • the leaves are needle-like
    • the leaves are scale-like
    Leaf glands
    there are no glands on the underside of the needle-like leaves
    Leaf stalks
    the needle-like leaves have a small leaf stalk
    Leaf types
    there are two distinct types of needle-like leaves on the twig
    Leaves overlapping
    the needle-like leaves are separate and do not hide the twig surface
  • Place
    Habitat
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • edges of forests
    • edges of wetlands
    • forests
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • talus or rocky slopes
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Bark resin blisters
    there are no resin blisters on the bark
    Leaves on shoots
    the needle-like leaves do not grow in tight clusters on a short, knob-like shoot
    Twig bloom
    there is no bloom on the twig
    Twig hairs
    the twig is hairy

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Abies balsamea:
winter buds resinous, the invidiual scales concealed by resin, bark with resin blisters, and seed cones erect (vs. T. canadensis, with winter buds not resinous, the individual scales visible, bark without resin blisters, and seed cones drooping).

Synonyms

  • Pinus canadensis L.

Family

Pinaceae

Genus

Tsuga

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carr. N

eastern hemlock. Pinus canadensis L. • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Forests and slopes, sometimes growing in hydric soils.