20 responses to “Tsuga heterophylla”

  1. Meg

    Wonderful photo and explanation. I will daydream about the network of mycorrhizal fungi.

  2. Rick Jones

    Does the western hemlock become infested with the wooly adelgid as the Eastern Hemlocks are???

  3. Ian Sturges

    A stunning photo and wonderful text. Thank you.

  4. michael aman

    I love your write-up

  5. Liz parnis@

    Delightful entry and very interesting and will encourage seeking out these trees. Thanks so much

  6. maggie paquet

    Lovely writeup. Also one of my favourite trees. When I used to do natural history programs in provincial parks, I would tell young children the tree’s “official” name, and then tell them they could remember heterophylla by substituting the word “higglety-pigglety.” It worked!

  7. MulchMaid

    What a lovely and personal writeup on this ubiquitous Northwest tree.

  8. Brian Tremback

    Is the western species also a vigorous root-grafter like the eastern species, T. canadensis? Here in Vermont, I’ve seen the cut stumps of young hemlocks healing over, no foliage involved – at least, not from that particular stem.

  9. marie Bruce

    Loved your photo and very descriptive write-up – not to mention your imagery of a secret vaulted room , I will keep an eye out you when I am in the woods on Vancouver Island. I am a huge fan of stumps and despite the loss of the tree – stumps must have a place in our forest history – although mostly they are ignored.

  10. marianwhit

    Nice job…I moved from there to here (Nova Scotia) miss the big trees, and today, the milder weather. Got to go shovel freezing slush now…

  11. R Rich

    careful of the ‘kind of curious’ link, it took me to a browser hijack site and started to download malware.
    Tried it twice and got the same result

  12. Peony Fan

    Beautiful essay; thank you.

  13. viola

    Fascinating picture and story told so beautifully!

  14. Daniel Mosquin

    R Rich, it didn’t flag on my antivirus when I was checking the links yesterday, but I’ve removed the link and accompanying sentence to be sure.

  15. Ron B

    While most western hemlocks may come up on rotted wood inside the canopies of stands that have specific forest floor conditions that cause the species to be restricted in this manner elsewhere within its range it certainly has no problem coming up in quantity throughout a site.
    I’ve been told the northernmost natural grove of coast redwoods is effectively not reproducing because its seedlings are being excluded by the faster growing western hemlock seedlings carpeting the forest floor beneath the redwoods. I’ve seen then same thing in my own back yard, where the native hemlocks and the neighbor’s planted coast redwood both generate seedlings that come up in the mulched areas there. Where the two meet the hemlocks push the slower-growing, more delicate baby redwoods aside.
    Hemlock adelgids thin out and may perhaps sometimes wear down the western hemlocks here but do not kill them outright as they do the eastern species in their native areas.

  16. MichaelF

    “Does the western hemlock become infested with the wooly adelgid as the Eastern Hemlocks are???”
    It does, but not so severely – the trees usually survive.

  17. michael aman

    @ Brian Tremback: at a former home of mine there was a row of seven Douglas firs on the property line (the neighbor lady in her nineties remembered when they were planted when she was seventeen). Several had been removed over the years, but their stumps had healed over and were still alive, though without any way to photosynthesize. I asked a forester about the phenomenon and he said they were root grafted to their neighbors.

  18. Tamara Bonnemaison

    Brian and Michael,
    Thanks for pointing out the way that hemlock stumps (and other trees) will sometimes heal over and continue to grow. I while ago I went on a tour of Merv Wilkinson’s sustainable woodlot on Vancouver Island, BC. My guide pointed out a number of such stumps, and told me that the network of Mycorrhizae was connecting these cut trees to the other trees of the forest, and that the standing trees were essentially sharing their sugars with the cut ones, allowing them to survive.

  19. Robin Day

    This method of seedling establishment on dead trunks and stumps is common all around the northern world. It is all about the stable water realtions of the rotted wood as you say, and some avoidance of competition. I detailed this in my masters thesis at University of New Brunswick Biology Dept., but I did field work in Newfoundland (boreal forest).

  20. Laura

    Tamara- Thank you for this excellent entry. As a botanist that lived in Ketchikan AK for some years I have a special place in my heart and mind for the western hemlock. I’ve since moved back to the lower 48 and miss those magnificent trees… their root systems, and their fungi. Thanks for reminding me of their magnificence. Our eastern Hemlock is suffering the effects of the adelgids, very big trees are starting to crash to the forest floor. Laura

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