Tsuga canadensis
Common name: 
Canadian Hemlock
Eastern Hemlock
TSOO-ga ka-na-DEN-sis
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Conifer, evergreen tree, 40-80 ft (12-25 m) tall, dense, conical crown when young, becoming ragged and irregular with age, branches spreading horizontally from the trunk, dead branches persist.  Leaves (needles) in 2 ranks, flat, slightly tapered, 10-20 mm long, margin finely toothed, upper side glossy green, whitish below with well defined stomatal lines; a few shorter needles (usually upside down) over the stem.  Seed cones ovoid, pointed, 12-20 mm long, purplish-brown, seed release in fall and winter, spent cones remain on the tree into the next season.
  • Sun or shade.  Best in moist, well-drained, acid soils, but appears adaptable to calcareous soils.  Avoid windy, dry, and wet sites.  Can be grown as a hedge.  Suffers from attack of aphid-like adelgids in some areas.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3b     Native range from Nova Scotia to Minnesota and south to the mountains of Alabama and Georgia.
  • Many selections, especially forms that are dwarf, pendulous, white tipped, or yellowish (golden).   One wholesale nursery lists almost 70 cultivars in its recent catalog.  Here are but a few:
    • 'Albospica'  -  tree, compact, slow growing, branch tips white or white variegated,
    • 'Betty Rose'  - shrub, dwarf, very slow-growing, a mound of irregular shape, leaves dark green, shoot tips white
    • 'Cole's Prostrate'  - dwarf shrub, prostrate, spreading habit, slow growing, up to 1 ft high and 3 ft wide (0.3 × 0.9 m)
    • 'Gentsch White'  - globose, dwarf shrub, slow growing, to about 4.5 ft (1.5 m) tall and wide in 10 years, needles at the tip of branchlets are silver white
    • 'Hornsford'  -  shrub, squat, dense, irregular habit, annual growth is less than 2 inches (5 cm)
    • 'Little Joe'  -  dwarf shrub, a tight, compact plant with small leaves, one of the smallest Canadian Hemlock selections
    • var. pendula  -  shrub, 2+ ft (0.6 m) high, 5+ ft (1.5 m) wide, weeping form with contorted branches
    • 'Summer Snow'  -  tree, broad conical form, new growth white, greens as it matures.
  • It is not always easy to distinguish T. canadensis from T. heterophylla on branchlet characteristics alone.  However, when comparing the lower side of the needles, T. canadensis has well defined narrow bands and a distinct green margin, whereas T. heterophylla has ill defined broad bands and an indistinct green margin.  Additionally, the buds of T. canadensis are ovoid and pointed, but those of T. heterophylla are globose.
  • Portland, OR: Hoyt Arboretum
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: on lower campus east of 11th St., on the north side of Madison Ave. near intersection with the alley, about 20 ft from sidewalk


Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, in habitat

    plant habit, in habitat

  • plant habit, young and older (darker) tree

    plant habit, young and older (darker) tree

  •  branch


  • branchlets


  • branchlets and needles

    branchlets and needles

  • branchlets and needles, underside

    branchlets and needles, underside

  • branchlets, comparison

    branchlets, comparison

  • needles, underside comparison

    needles, underside comparison

  • male pollen cones and leaves

    male pollen cones and leaves

  • seed cones

    seed cones

  • needles and closed cone

    needles and closed cone

  • open seed cones

    open seed cones

  • cone