Largeleaf hemlock (Tsuga canadensis macrophylla) has been cultivated since at least 1870, but rarely since the 1950s. Growth varies from slow and shrubby to treelike. The species was introduced to the West by Peter Collinson in 1736. Today it is threatened by the wooly adelgid. The common name “hemlock” comes from the Indians of upper New York who called this tree “Ohnehtah” and referred to Canada as the land of the “Ohnehtah”. In Greek, macro means large and phyllon means leaf. Notably the poisonous hemlock does not come from the Pinaceae but from the parsley family, Apiaceae, Circuta maculata and Conium maculatum. Tsuga is the Japanese name for trees in this genus.
Common name: Largeleaf hemlock
Scientific Name (family and order): Tsuga canadensis macrophylla (Pinaceae, Pinales)
Species Native Origin:
New Jersey Status:
Habit: 50 – 75’ high x 25 – 35’ wide;pyramidal shape.
Habitat: Zone 4
Trunk/Stem: Bark gray with scaly ridges. Long branches may droop to the ground. Although in the wild this tree has one prominent straight stem, under cultivation it often produces multiple crooked stems.
Leaves: Evergreen; needle-like. Linear, dark green above with two white bands beneath. Leaves are flat on cross-section. The leaves taper to rounded tips. Leaves lie flat to either side of the shoot (double rank).
Flowers: Monoecious. Male flowers yellow form beneath the shoot; female flowers resemble small green cones at the shoot tip; flowers in separate clusters on same plant.
Fruits and seeds: Cone egg-shaped, pale brown, hanging from end of shoot, ¾” diameter. Cones persist after shedding the seeds in the fall.