Western hemlock plantations are often very dark as they cast dense shade, which means very few plants or wildlife species can live beneath them.

Western hemlock occurs on a variety of soil types.

By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Revised Ed. Its wood is superior to that of all other…. Its specific epithet (species name) heterophylla refers to its variability in needle length. Once established in the shady understory of sun-tolerant species, Western hemlock may persist for some time until its dense canopies and roots prevent the growth of sun-loving trees. This entry was last updated on March 17, 2018, Photo by K.D. Native Americans used western hemlock for medicine, food, and dye and to tan hides. Height: 50 to 70 m (165 to 230 ft); occasionally grows up to 83.34 m (273.42 ft), Leaves (Needles): Short-stalked, finely toothed, flat, 5-20 mm long, irregularly spare, Cones: Ovoid, short-stalked, thin papery scales; greenish to reddish-purple turning brown with age, Bark: Smooth and reddish-brown when young; becomes darker, ridged and scaly upon maturity, Winter Conditions: Average winter temperatures range from -10.9° to 8.5° C, Summer Conditions: Average summer temperatures range from 11° to 20° C, Rain: 560-1730 mm per year (Rocky Mountains); 380-6650 mm per year (Alaska, British Columbia), Soil Requirements: Moist, well-drained, acidic, light sandy, medium loamy. Article was last reviewed on 26th December 2019.

and R.P. It absorbs preservatives easily, making it a good choice for pilings, poles, and railroad ties. © 2020 (Coniferous Forest). Native American Ethnobotany. Its inner bark was used by the Alaska Indians to produce coarse bread. Sarg. Western Hemlock The Pine Family–Pinaceae Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) When compared to Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), Western Hemlock generally has narrower growth rings, though both species can have tightly spaced growth rings.

In its early days, the timber industry scorned western hemlock as an economically unimportant conifer. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Mythology and symbolism In some ancient North-American traditions, western hemlock was an important herb for women. Northwest Trees: identifying and understanding our native trees. All rights reserved. If you have heard of poison hemlock, particularly the hemlock that ancient Greek philosopher Socrates was forced to drink, this hemlock is not the same plant (Conium maculatum).Instead, the bark of this tree is one of the primary tree sources of tannins traditionally used for tanning hides for clothing during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Canadian hemlock trees are members of the pine family. Your email address will not be published. A Natural History of Conifers. Western hemlock, or Alaska-spruce (Tsuga heterophylla), is a common conifer that grows in the cool, moist forests of northwest Oregon. Required fields are marked *. The trees are not long-lived, however. Tsuga is the Japanese name for the western hemlock.

Western hemlock, or Alaska-spruce (Tsuga heterophylla), is a common conifer that grows in the cool, moist forests of northwest Oregon.

The western hemlock (T. heterophylla), also known as hemlock fir and Prince Albert’s fir, is a timber tree often 60 metres (200 feet) tall, with a trunk 1.8 to 3 metres (6 to 10 feet) in diameter. Its pulped wood, reduced to alpha-cellulose, makes high quality paper, and is a source of cellulose for cellophane, rayon, and plastic products. Western Hemlock Facts. It was used to fashion small implements; to make articles of clothing, such as skirts made of boughs; to ensure hunting or fishing success by rubbing their bodies with boughs; and to ward off evil spirits. The species is tolerant of shade and can become the dominant species in mixed conifer communities in the absence of fire disturbance.

(TSOO-guh het-er-oh-FILL-uh) Names: The genus name “Tsuga” comes from Japanese words meaning “mother” and “tree.” The species name heterophylla, literally means different leaves. Comments: Western Hemlock is the largest of the hemlocks, and is one of the most valuable sources of exportable lumber for Canada; the species is also the state tree of Washington. The lumbermen believed that its wood quality was poor, much like its eastern North American relative, Tsuga canadensis. There are nine species—four in North America, the remainder in Southeast Asia. This species is well adapted to grow on humus and decaying wood, and is also found on mineral soil (Pojar & MacKinnon 1994).

Other Names: Western Hemlock-Spruce, Pacific Hemlock, Coast Hemlock, West Coast Hemlock: Size: Height: 50 to 70 m (165 to 230 ft); occasionally grows up to 83.34 m (273.42 ft).

https://www.britannica.com/plant/western-hemlock. Published on January 22nd 2017 by admin under Hemlock. For these reasons, undergrowth is noticeably absent from hemlock-dominated forests. Your email address will not be published.

Tsuga is the Japanese name for the western hemlock. Most succumb at an earlier age to root or stem rot fungi, wind throw (blowdown), and insect damage. Moerman, DE. Its specific epithet (species name) heterophylla refers to its variability in needle length. Trunk diameter: Up to 2.7 m (9 ft). A large evergreen coniferous tree native to the west coast of North America, the western hemlock tree is the largest species of hemlock (growing an average of 50 - 70 meters tall, and sometimes to 78 meters) with a trunk diameter of up to 2.7 meters. Experience proved otherwise.

Western hemlock grows Known for its durable timber, the western hemlock is a species of large conifers found in the western coastal regions of North America. Farjon, A. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Western hemlock grows best in cool, moist conditions where there are large amounts of organic matter in the soil. Lowland trees that are three hundred years old are rare, although much older trees are known to exist in higher elevations. Hammerly. Where rainfall is over sixty inches a year, Western hemlock thrives. Western hemlock is a versatile tree, important to Oregon's economy and culture. Western hemlock forests are among the most productive in Oregon, producing more wood per acre than other forest types. Portland: Timber Press, 2008. The Oregon state champion hemlock, which is 8.1 feet in diameter and 195 feet tall, grows in Tillamook County on Crown Zellerbach land.

Prolific seed production and the ability to grow in high organic matter and rotting wood results in the formation of nurse logs. This refers to the different lengths of needles found along a branch.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsuga_heterophylla, https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfd/library/documents/treebook/westernhemlock.htm, https://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/Volume_1/tsuga/heterophylla.htm, http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/42435/0, http://www.conifers.org/pi/Tsuga_heterophylla.php, Western Hemlock-Spruce, Pacific Hemlock, Coast Hemlock, West Coast Hemlock, Narrow crown, down-sweeping branches, drooping lead shoot, Alaska, California, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington (United States); Alberta, British Columbia (Canada), Initially slow; once established, seedlings can grow at a rate of more than 24 inches per year, Floweringbegins in April, continues until May-June; cones mature 4-5 months after pollination, seeds ripen in September, Good cone crops occur after 25-30 years of age, Germination is epigeal; seedlings are sensitive to cold, heat, drought, and wind, Black-tailed deer and Roosevelt elk feed on the leaves and twigs; black bear cut through the bark of pole-size trees; mountain beaver, brush rabbit, and snowshoe hare clip off branches and stems of seedlings, For wood pulp, poles, railway ties, pilings, construction lumber; as specimen trees, hedging plants, and bonsai, In 1947, western hemlock was designated as the “Washington State Tree.”.
Swan USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database. Portland: Timber Press, 1998. The known world champion, at 8.9 feet in diameter and 172 feet tall, grows at the east end of the Enchanted Valley in the Olympic National Park in Washington State. Its strong, straight-grained, pitch-free wood saws splinter-free and holds a nail. It is the dominant climax species in the forests west of the Pacific Coast Ranges. Seattle: Mountaineers, 2007.

Native people used hemlock bark as a tanning agent and cleansing solution, owing to its high tannin content. The species is absent from the Willamette Valley, the dry interior valleys of southwest Oregon, and all of Oregon and Washington east of the Cascades. Since modern foresters realized that Western hemlock was more than a "weed tree," it has been put to a variety of uses. In the deep shady forests, it is common to see hemlock progeny growing in rows along a rotting log. There are nine speciesfour in North America, the remainder in Southeast Asia. This species is very shade tolerant and thrives in full sun and regenerates well under a closed canopy. The western hemlock (T. heterophylla), also known as hemlock fir and Prince Albert’s fir, is a timber tree often 60 metres (200 feet) tall, with a trunk 1.8 to 3 metres (6 to 10 feet) in diameter. 1998.

Western hemlock is distributed from southeast Alaska to northwest California along the Pacific Coast.


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