Eastern Hemlock Tsuga canadensis
Family: Pinaceae (Pine)
Branching: Evergreen

Hemlock is often found with hardwood broadleaf trees, such as Sugar Maple.  It has flattened needles that come off the twig in a horizontal line, like Balsam Fir often does.  In fact, it is most easily confused with Balsam Fir.  The bark is different, though; young Firs have smooth bark with raised "blisters" full of resin, while young Hemlock becomes flaky while still fairly small.  When mature, Balsam Fir is still more smooth than Hemlock.  Also, when seen from below, Hemlock twigs near the end of the branch are much less symmetrical than Fir.  Balsam Fir needles are strictly opposite, while some of Hemlock's small twigs are alternate.

The underside of Hemlock needle.  Notice how they appear whitish underneath
and the small twigs are more alternate than opposite.

The top of Hemlock needles

Young Hemlock bark

Seen from below, Hemlock tends to have a bluish-green look

Mature Hemlock bark.  This particular picture shows it a little more red than usual

Mature Hemlock

Hemlock cones

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copyright © 2008 Josh Sayers
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