Ontario Trees & Shrubs website

Eastern Hemlock
Tsuga canadensis

French names: Pruche du Canada

Family: Pine Family (Pinaceae)

Distinctive features: Tree; Flat needles.

Similar species:
  •   Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) - very similar. Has longer needles and they are attached to the branch differently. Also, Balsam Fir bark usually has numerous sap blisters.

  •   Yew (Taxus canadensis) - a sprawling shrub, and the needles are green underneath.
  •   Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum) - A wildflower, non-woody plant; no relation; similar in name only. See the Ontario Wildflowers website.
  •   Bulb-bearing Water Hemlock (Cicuta bulbifera) - A wildflower, non-woody plant; no relation; similar in name only. See the Ontario Wildflowers website.
  •   Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata) - A wildflower, non-woody plant; no relation; similar in name only. See the Ontario Wildflowers website.

Leaves: Small flat needles.

Habitat: Forests;  Forests.

Edible: Needles make a nice tea.

Books: Trees in Canada: 120   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Very common.

Origin and Meaning of Names:
 Scientific Name: canadensis: of Canada


See Also:
  •   Great Americans: Hemlocks (Tsuga), from The Monday Garden, by Sue Sweeney


Photographs: 288 photographs available, of which 6 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Eastern Hemlock is a conifer, and therefore it has needles. Eastern Hemlock needles are connected to the branch with tiny stems. This is different from Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea). The needles have a thin white stripe underneath (not shown).

The needles make a nice tea. As with all conifers from which one can make tea, it is important to heat the water first, remove the water from the heat when it boils, and then and only then add the needles. Fresh, younger needles make better tea.

Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Here is a young Eastern Hemlock, showing its open growth form.

Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

An eye-level view of Eastern Hemlock branches.

Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Eastern Hemlock trunk.

Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Close-up of Eastern Hemlock bark.

Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

Eastern Hemlock seed cones.


Range map for Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)