We need regular donations to enable us to keep going – to maintain and further develop our free-to-use database of over 8000 edible and useful plants. Donations have increased following recent appeals - thank you! - but we still need at least £1000 (or $1300/ €1200) every month. If you value what we do please give what you can to support our work. More >>>

Follow Us:

 

Tsuga mertensiana - (Bong.)Carrière.

Common Name Mountain Hemlock
Family Pinaceae
USDA hardiness 5-7
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Exposed ridges and slopes at high altitudes, often to 3000 metres[82]. The best stands are found in sheltered areas with deep moist well-drained soils, high precipitation and long cold winters[229].
Range Western N. America - Alaska to California.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Tsuga mertensiana Mountain Hemlock


flickr.com/photos/28435100@N00
Tsuga mertensiana Mountain Hemlock
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Wsiegmund

 

Translate this page:

Summary

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


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Tsuga mertensiana is an evergreen Tree growing to 45 m (147ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 4. 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: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly 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 cannot tolerate atmospheric pollution.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Canopy; Hedge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Inner bark  Shoots
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[161]. It is best used in the spring[172]. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails[183]. A herbal tea is made from the young leaves and shoot tips[172, 183].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Astringent  Diaphoretic  Diuretic  Poultice

The bark is astringent, diaphoretic and diuretic[21]. A tea made from the inner bark or twigs is helpful in the treatment of influenza, colds, kidney or bladder problems, and also makes a good enema for treating diarrhoea[21, 257]. It can also be used as a gargle or mouthwash for mouth and throat problems or externally to wash sores and ulcers[21]. The powdered bark can be put into shoes for tender or sweaty feet or for foot odour[21]. A poultice of the chewed leaves has been used to treat burns[257]. The warm gum obtained from the trunks has been used as a dressing on cuts[257].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

Now available: PLANTS FOR YOUR FOOD FOREST: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens.

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  Incense  Pot-pourri  Resin  Tannin  Wood

The slightly unripe cones are used in pot-pourri. They retain an attractive scent for several years[200]. Yields a resin similar to Abies balsamea, it is gathered by incisions in the trunk or by boiling the wood[46, 61, 64]. The bark contains 8 - 14% tannin[46, 171]. The inner bark is used according to one report[82]. A brown dye is obtained from the bark[21, 46]. The boughs are steamed or rubbed on furniture and used as a room deodorant and disinfectant[257]. A pitch (called hemlock pitch), is obtained by distillation of the young branches[46]. Tolerant of light trimming, plants can be grown as a tall hedge[29, 81]. Wood - strong[171]. Used for heavy construction[171]. Close-grained, light, soft and weak according to other reports, which go on to say that it is occasionally manufactured into lumber when other wood is not available[82, 229].

Special Uses

Hedge  Hedge

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Hedge, Aggressive surface roots possible, Screen, Specimen, Woodland garden. 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]. 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]. Dislikes atmospheric pollution[82]. A very ornamental plant[11], it is slow growing for the first few years, averaging 30cm a year, but older trees, especially in Scottish lowland sites in areas with cool moist summers, are growing rapidly[185]. Trees live 400 - 500 years in the wild[229]. They commence bearing seeds when about 20 - 30 years old, years of high production alternating with years of low production[229]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Special Features:North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:

Fahrenheit:

image

The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

Shop Now

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 FLMHNMWe223
Tsuga canadensisCanadian Hemlock, Eastern hemlockTree20.0 4-7 MLMHFSNM132
Tsuga carolinianaCarolina HemlockTree15.0 4-7 SLMHFSNM122
Tsuga chinensisChinese HemlockTree45.0 5-9 SLMHFSNM122
Tsuga heterophyllaWestern HemlockTree70.0 6-7 FLMHFSNM122

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.

 

Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment

Author

(Bong.)Carrière.

Botanical References

1182200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Tsuga mertensiana  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.