Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Tsuga mertensiana
mountain hemlock

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; Alaska to California, east to Montana.

Habitat: Middle to high elevations in the mountains

Cones: June-July (cones)

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Wind


Erect trees to 40 m. tall, at higher elevations stunted, the leader usually drooping but sometimes erect.


Bark cracked and furrowed, dark purplish- or reddish-brown; young twigs strongly hairy with short and long hairs.


Leaves somewhat 4-sided, whitish on both surfaces, yellow-green to bluish-green, 12-20 mm. long, covering the branches on all sides, often upturned.


Staminate cones bluish, 3-4 mm. long, on short stalks near the branch tips; ovulate cones light or deep purple or brownish-purple, cylindric, 3-6 cm. long, single at the branch tips.

Accepted Name:
Tsuga mertensiana (Bong.) Carrière
Publication: Traité Gén. Conif., ed. 2. 250. 1867.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Abies hookeriana A. Murray bis
Abies mertensiana Bong.
Hesperopeuce mertensiana (Bong.) Rydb.
Picea hookeriana (A. Murray bis) Bertrand
Tsuga crassifolia Flous
Additional Resources:

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

WA Flora Checklist: Tsuga mertensiana checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Tsuga mertensiana information.

E-Flora BC: Tsuga mertensiana atlas page.

CalPhotos: Tsuga mertensiana photos.

USDA Plants: Tsuga mertensiana information.

25 photographs:
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