USA Official State Tree of Pennsylvania


Eastern Hemlock

(Pinaceae Tsuga canadensis)
Adopted on June 23, 1931.

State tree as enacted by the General Assembly on June 23, 1931.

The Hemlock, Pinaceae Tsuga canadensis, was a sturdy ally to the state's first settlers. Many a pioneer family felt better protected from the elements and their enemies inside log cabins made from the patriarch of Pennsylvania's forests.

Eastern hemlock also called Canada hemlock or hemlock spruce, is a slow-growing long-lived tree which unlike many trees grows well in shade. It may take 250 to 300 years to reach maturity and may live for 800 years or more. A tree measuring 193 cm (76 in) in d.b.h. and 53.3 m (175 ft) tall is among the largest recorded. Hemlock bark was once the source of tannin for the leather industry; now the wood is important to the pulp and paper industry. Many species of wildlife benefit from the excellent habitat that a dense stand of hemlock provides. This tree also ranks high for ornamental planting.

  • Leaf: Evergreen, 1/2 inch long, dark green in color, with 2 lines of white stomata below. Tips are blunt. Needles are two-ranked.
  • Flower: Monoecious; males yellow, small, round; females light green at branch tips.
  • Fruit: Ovoid, 3/4 inch long with rounded, entire scales. Maturing September to October.
  • Twig: Fine, gray-brown in color.
  • Bark: On young trees, gray-brown, smooth, turning scaly. Older trees are red-brown with wide ridges and furrows. When cut or broken, purple streaks are obvious.
  • Form: A medium-sized tree with a dense, conical crown, fine branches and a drooping terminal shoot. Typically a poor natural pruner.
Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom Plantae -- Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta -- Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta ? Seed plants
Division Coniferophyta ? Conifers
Class Pinopsida ?
Order Pinales ?
Family Pinaceae ? Pine family
Genus Tsuga Carr. ? hemlock
Species Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carr. ? eastern hemlock


Dendrology at Virginia Tech
U.S. Department of Agriculture