Western Hemlock - kʷaləkʷəc - (Tsuga heterophylla)
A large coniferous evergreen tree known to grow 165 to 230 feet tall, with exceptions reaching nearly 275 feet, and trunk diameters up to 9 feet, the Western Hemlock is the largest species of hemlock and is the state tree of Washington! Western Hemlock has a broad conical crown when younger with a drooping lead shoot but becomes more cylindric with maturity. The tree is distinguishable by its pendulous branchlet tips with pale brown almost white shoots. The bark is thin and furrowed, with mid-to dark-green, needle-like leaves. The Western Hemlock’s pendulous, cylindric cones are slender and small at just under an inch in length and have thin, flexible scales. It is a slow-growing, but long-lived with trees over 1200 years old! This tree is known for forming symbiotic relationships, specifically ectomycorrhizal associations, with some well-known edible fungi like Chanterelles, and is also host to our local variety of Reishi conk (Ganoderma tsugae), a prized medicinal mushroom.
The tree's cambium can be scraped from the bark and eaten or dried and pressed into bread, new growth needles can be chewed fresh off the plant or made into a bitter tea which is high in vitamin C. Native Americans have used the Western Hemlock for these aforementioned purposes as well cultivating the wood in creation of boughs for collecting herring eggs, and utilizing the bark as a source of tannin for tanning. It’s a favorite nesting tree for many birds, most parts of the tree are enjoyed as a food-source for a plethora of wildlife. Western Hemlock can be planted on riverbanks to help control erosion.
*Full sun to full shade
*Prefers moist, acidic, well-drained soil with a high level of organic material
*Suitable along riverbanks, as an ornamental tree in large woodland gardens
*Typical growth 150 to 195 feet, with the tallest known being over 240 feet.
*Sold Bare Root
*Sold in bundles of 10
kʷaləkʷəc *Lushootseed provided by the Puyallup Tribal Language Program and audio by Chris Briden, Puyallup Tribal member.