Mountain hemlock (Tsuga Mertensiana)

Near east door to Carver gym Map

Characterized by its slightly pendulous branchlet tips, short delicate needles, and drooping branches the Mountain hemlock is the quintessential timberline tree. Alpine hikers will find it hunched and gnarled from the effects of wind and snow. It is native to the west coast of North America. Mature trees may attain heights of more than 60 ft., and trees taller than 100 ft. are known.

Mountain hemlock is little planted outside its native range. However, where it does prosper it can be a useful garden tree, because of its dense foliage, graceful form, and the fact that it is exceedingly slow growing. It also is a popular bonsai tree.

WWU has several small mountain hemlocks scattered about; these two (on either side of the western larch are the most accessible. Study them, and then see if you can find a few others.