Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Tsuga heterophylla
western hemlock

Distribution: Occurring chiefly west of the Cascades crest and in the northeast counties in Washington; Alaska to California, also in southeastern British Columbia, northern Idaho and western Montana.

Habitat: Moist, deep forests from sea level to middle elevations in the mountains

Cones: May-June

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Wind


Trees to 50 m. tall, with a narrow crown, the leader and branches drooping.


Bark dark brown to reddish-brown, becoming thick and furrowed, cross-ridged to form small scales; young branches with both short and long pubescence.


Needles flat, grooved, glossy yellow-green on the upper surface, white over most of the lower surface, 8-20 mm. long, highly variable in length, spread at right angles to the branches.


Staminate cones yellow, 3-4 mm. long, on short stalks near the branch tips; ovulate cones ovoid, 1.5-2.5 cm. long, greenish, becoming brown, single at the branch tips.

Accepted Name:
Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg.
Publication: Silva. 12: 73, plate 605. 1898.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Abies heterophylla Raf.
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Tsuga heterophylla in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database

WA Flora Checklist: Tsuga heterophylla checklist entry

OregonFlora: Tsuga heterophylla information

E-Flora BC: Tsuga heterophylla atlas page

CalPhotos: Tsuga heterophylla photos

42 photographs:
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