Mountain Hemlock


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British Columbia Outdoor Wilderness Guide
Mtnhem.Jpg

MOUNTAIN HEMLOCK

tsuga mertensiana
  • 'tsuga' is from 'tsu-ga' the Japanese word for "tree" and "mother", 'mertensiana' is named for the botanist Franz Mertens
  • Mountain Hemlock is also known as Black Hemlock

UNIQUE FEATURES:

  • unlike most conifers, most of the Mountain Hemlock's branches slope upwards at the tips; making them most unsuitable to take refuge under in the rain
  • at higher elevations it is often stunted

LOCATION:

  • Mountain Hemlock grows in coastal mountains, Cariboo, Selkirk and Monashee mountains
  • Mountain Hemlock appears from mid-elevations to timberline
  • Mountain Hemlock occurs where there is a heavy, early snowpack
  • area with only a short growing season
  • can also appear in bogs along the north coast

SIZE:

  • Mountain Hemlock's maximum size is 30 metres

CONES:

  • two or three times longer than those of the western hemlock
  • light to deep purple, green, becoming brown with age
  • cylindrical in shape/narrow at each end
  • pollen cones: bluish

NEEDLES:

  • same size
  • yellow-green to bluish green, glossy
  • densely cover the branches (sprays do not have the flattened appearance of the western hemlock)
  • triangular in a cross section, not flat like the western hemlock

BARK:

  • dark reddish-brown
  • cracked, grooved into narrow ridges

USES:

  • modern - small dimension lumber, pulp

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Mountain Hemlock