Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Tsuga canadensis

Eastern hemlock

Pinaceae (Pine Family)

Tsuga canadensis (Eastern hemlock)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Eastern hemlock is a straight-trunked, gracefully pyramidal tree with long, pendulous limbs and short-needled, feathery branches. Evergreen needles are dark-green with silvery undersides.Evergreen tree with conical crown of long, slender, horizontal branches often drooping down to the ground, and a slender, curved, and drooping leader. Height is usually 40-70 ft., but can reach 100 ft. or more.

The bark was once a commercial source of tannin in the production of leather. Pioneers made tea from leafy twigs and brooms from the branches. A graceful shade tree and ornamental, it can also be trimmed into hedges.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf: Dark Green
Fruit: Brown
Size Class: 72-100 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr


USA: AL , CT , DE , GA , IN , KY , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , NH , NJ , NY , NC , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VT , VA , WV , WI , DC
Canada: NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: N.S. to Man., s. to MD & n.e. MN; along mts. to GA & AL
Native Habitat: Rocky ridges; moist, mountain slopes

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Rocky, cool, moist soils.
Conditions Comments: Eastern hemlock can be a fast-grower, but is more often slow-growing. It must be placed where there is good drainage and no strong, drying winds. Trees seem somewhat pH adaptable but prefers acidity. They can be restrained as a hedge for years with regular pruning. Sunscorch kills back branches, and drought kills the tree. A number of diseases and insects can be troublesome, but trees in good health prove reliable.


Use Wildlife: Other Showy Insects
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Columbia silkmoth

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Tsuga canadensis is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Columbia silkmoth
(Hyalophora columbia)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2013-09-05