Western Hemlock

(Tsuga heterophylla)

Western hemlock grows best in cool, moist areas, and is relatively shade-tolerant. The species features needles of from .3 to .7 inch in length that do not taper, and scaly cones of about 1 inch in length. Its scaly, fissured bark is a dark reddish-brown. The bark of the western hemlock is relatively thin. This, combines with its shallow root structure, makes the species susceptible to damage by fire, wind, insects, and disease.

The western hemlock grows to heights of 150 feet and diameters of two feet in approximately 100 years. Under ideal conditions, a western hemlock can attain a height of 200 feet and a trunk diameter of 8 feet in about 500 years.

The western hemlock is valued as a commercial species because its softwood features straight, fine grain and is non-rensious.


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Idaho Forest Products Commission
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