Eastern Hemlock

Miz Flora has made a special request that I include Eastern Hemlock, Tsuga canadensis in our Tree Week.

Eastern Hemlock

She says, don’t let the scientific–or the sometimes common name of Canadian Hemlock–fool you. This evergreen grows naturally here in Virginia. You might find it planted in someone’s backyard, as we did, but our field correspondents report that the conifer tree grows on the cooler northern slopes of our hillsides. Down here on the plains around DC, that means the ravines near the big rivers, like the Potomac River.

Eastern Hemlock bark

It’s a very long-lived tree, so gets quite large. Remember that Big Tree list we talked about last fall? I read people like to hunt for hemlocks in remote mountain areas to try to get on the list.

Eastern Hemlock cones

These big trees start from those little cones at the tips of the branches. Hickory and I don’t even bother with the seeds from these cones. We leave them to birds like the chickadees. If you haven’t guessed why, it’s less to do with the cone size than the branches. Those skinny tips are hard to navigate, even for us squirrel acrobats.