canadensis (L) Carr)
sometimes known as hemlock spruce or spruce pine, is common along
streams and on cool slopes throughout the mountains and extends
somewhat into the adjoining regions.
The flat needles are round-tipped, 1/3 to 2/3 inches long and
are marked on the lower surface with two pale lines (stomata).
The needles narrow at the base to form short, slender stems that
are attached to rounded, dark orange-colored, persistent, woody
pads on the twigs. The pendant cones grow on short, slender stalks
from the tips of branchlets, usually remaining on the tree until
the following spring.
Hemlock is remarkably tolerant to shading by larger trees; many
remain in the understory in natural stands for 25 to 200 years.
It is a long-lived tree -individual trees more than 500 years
old are common.
The tree may reach a height of 60 to 100 feet with a trunk diameter
of 2 to 4 feet. It often has a broad-based pyramid shape. Ends
of branches often are drooping and "feathery." The bark on old
trunks is dark gray and is divided into narrow, deeply furrowed,
rounded ridges. The wood is light, soft, brittle and difficult
to work. It is used for rough or construction lumber and for pulpwood.
The Carolina hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana Engelm) differs from the
eastern hemlock in that its needles are much more whorled about
the twig giving it a rougher less flat appearance than the eastern
The cone scales of the Carolina hemlock are narrow, and much longer
than they are wide. Both the cones and leaves are longer than
those of eastern hemlock.
Carolina hemlock grows on dry, rocky ridges and cliffs along the
Blue Ridge mountains and in northeastern Tennessee. It is a very
desirable tree for ornamental planting.