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Tsuga caroliniana - Engelm.

Common Name Carolina Hemlock
Family Pinaceae
USDA hardiness 4-7
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Usually found growing singly or in small scattered groves of a few individuals on the rocky banks of streams at elevations of 750 - 1200 metres[82].
Range South-eastern N. America - W. Virginia to Georgia.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Tsuga caroliniana Carolina Hemlock


commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Crusier
Tsuga caroliniana Carolina Hemlock
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 1: 62

 

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Summary

Bloom Color: Green, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Pyramidal.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Tsuga caroliniana is an evergreen Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 8 m (26ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in leaf all year, in flower in April, and the seeds ripen from October to November. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Wind.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Canopy; Hedge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Inner bark
Edible Uses: Tea

Inner bark - raw or dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread[2, 46, 161]. The leaves and twigs yield 'spruce oil', which is used commercially to flavour chewing gum, soft drinks, ice cream etc[183]. A herbal tea is made from the young shoot tips[2, 62, 95, 159, 183]. These tips are also an ingredient of 'spruce beer'[183].

References

Medicinal Uses

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Antipruritic  Astringent  Birthing aid  Diaphoretic  Diuretic  Kidney

The bark is astringent, diaphoretic and diuretic[21]. A tea made from the inner bark or twigs is helpful in the treatment of kidney or bladder problems, and also makes a good enema for treating diarrhoea[21]. It can also be used as a gargle or mouthwash for mouth and throat problems or externally to wash sores and ulcers[21]. A poultice of the bark has been used to treat itchy armpits[257]. The powdered bark can be put into shoes for tender or sweaty feet or for foot odour[21]. An infusion of the stem tips has been used to treat kidney problems[257]. A decoction of the roots has been used as a birthing aid to help expel the afterbirth[257]. The roots have been chewed in order to treat diarrhoea[257].

References

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An important new book from PFAF. It focuses on the attributes of plants suitable for food forests, what each can contribute to a food forest ecosystem, including carbon sequestration, and the kinds of foods they yield. The book suggests that community and small-scale food forests can provide a real alternative to intensive industrialised agriculture, and help to combat the many inter-related environmental crises that threaten the very future of life on Earth.

Read More

FOOD FOREST PLANTS

Other Uses

Dye  Hedge  Hedge  Resin  Rust  Tannin  Wood

The inner bark has been used to make baskets[257]. A rosy-tan dye can be obtained from the bark[257]. The bark is a source of tannin[257]. All the uses listed below are based on the uses of T. canadensis and reports in [46, 61, 82] that this species has similar uses. Yields a resin similar to Abies balsamea, it is gathered by incisions in the trunk or by boiling the wood[46, 61, 64]. A pitch (called hemlock pitch), is obtained by distillation of the young branches[46]. 'Oil of Hemlock' is distilled from the young branches according to another report[82]. The boiled bark has been used to make a wash to clean rust off iron and steel, and to prevent further rusting[257]. Tolerant of light trimming, plants can be grown as a hedge[81]. This species does not make a good hedge in Britain[200]. Some cultivars can be grown as a ground cover when planted about 1 metre apart each way[208]. 'Pendula' is slow-growing but makes a very good cover[208]. Wood - coarse-grained, light, soft, not strong, brittle, not durable outdoors[21, 46, 61, 82, 171, 229]. Difficult to work because it splits easily[226]. The wood weighs 26lb per cubic foot[235]. The trees do not self-prune and so the wood contains numerous remarkably hard knots that can quickly dull the blade of an axe[226]. A coarse lumber, it is used occasionally for the outside of buildings[21, 46, 61, 82, 171, 229]. It should be used with caution as a fuel for outdoor fires because it can project embers and burning wood several metres from the fire[226].

Special Uses

Hedge  Hedge

References

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Hedge, Aggressive surface roots possible, Screen, Specimen. An easily grown plant, it thrives best when growing in a deep well-drained soil in the western parts of Britain where it appreciates the higher rainfall[11]. However, it succeeds in most soils and positions, being especially good on acidic sandy soils[81] but also tolerating some lime[11] so long as there is plenty of humus in the soil[208]. Plants are very shade tolerant when young, but need more sunlight as they grow older[81, 200]. Plants are thin and poor when grown in dry or exposed places[200]. This species is more tolerant of atmospheric pollution than T. canadensis[11]. A slow growing tree in Britain, it requires hot humid summers[200]. It is probably less slow in the far west and in Ireland[185]. Trees have not done well in this country even though they are very cold-tolerant[11]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Special Features:Attracts birds, North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

References

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The PFAF Bookshop

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Propagation

Seed - it germinates better if given a short cold stratification[80, 113] and so is best sown in a cold frame in autumn to late winter. It can also be sown in early spring, though it might not germinate until after the next winter. If there is sufficient seed, an outdoor sowing can be made in spring[78]. Pot-grown seedlings are best potted up into individual pots once they are large enough to handle - grow them on in a cold frame and plant them out in early summer of the following year. Trees transplant well when they are up to 80cm tall, but they are best put in their final positions when they are about 30 - 45 cm or less tall, this is usually when they are about 5 - 8 years old[200]. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Pseudotsuga menziesiiDouglas Fir, Rocky Mountain Douglas-firTree75.0 3-6 FLMHNMWe22 
Tsuga canadensisCanadian Hemlock, Eastern hemlockTree20.0 4-7 MLMHFSNM13 
Tsuga chinensisChinese HemlockTree45.0 5-9 SLMHFSNM12 
Tsuga heterophyllaWestern HemlockTree70.0 6-7 FLMHFSNM12 
Tsuga mertensianaMountain HemlockTree45.0 5-7 MLMHFSNM12 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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Expert comment

Author

Engelm.

Botanical References

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Links / References

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Readers comment

mike cooper   Thu Jul 15 02:21:25 2004

Is Tsuga caroliniana a good plant for NE Georgia, elevation 1100 feet? I like the mountain look of these trees. Are they easy to find and buy? Any comments or advice? mike cooper 404-648-7871

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