Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Taxonomy
Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carr.
PINACEAE (Pine Family)
EtymologyTsuga is from the Japanese for hemlock; canadensis is Latin for from or of Canada.
DescriptionA tall, coniferous evergreen of moist habitats, Eastern Hemlock has short, dark green needles and rough, ridged bark that varies from reddish-brown to grayish-brown. Eastern Hemlock has a slightly tapered trunk and slender, horizontal branches; the lowest tend to be pendulous.
Wetland indicator statusFACU
Plant Height70-100 feet
LeavesEvergreen, short needles (to 5/8"), blunt-tipped, flattened; shiny, dark green above with two white lines below; attached to twig by slender stalk; appear to be in two horizontal rows.
FruitCones small (3/4" long), eg-shaped; light brown; pendent from tips of lateral branches.
Fruiting PeriodApril-May, mature in autumn, persist until following spring.
HabitatForested wetlands, cool moist woods, ravines, mountain slopes, stream banks, shores of lakes and ponds, borders of swamps and bogs.
RangeNova Scotia to Ontario, south to Delaware and Wisconsin; mountains W. Virginia to Georgia.
Associates
Trees:
White pine (Pinus strobus)
Gray Birch Betula populifolia)
Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis)
Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica)
Shrubs:
Smooth Alder (Alnus serrulata)
Speckled Alder (Alnus incana ssp. rugosa)
Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)
Mountain Holly (Nemopanthus mucronatus)
Sheep Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia)
Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
Similar Species
Balsam fir(Abies balsamea) is more strongly aromatic than Eastern Hemlock and the cones are much longer (2--3") and upright; also, Balsam Fir has a more northerly range.
Black Spruce (Picea mariana) lacks white stripes on underside of its needles, which are spirally arranged on the twigs.
Seasonal Diagnostics
Spring: Immature light green cones appear in April-May.
Fall: Ripe cones turn brown, open, and persist throughout winter and early spring.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett