Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

fobbg logo
This is one of a series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens compiled by the Friends group.

Family: Pinaceae
Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carrière
Eastern hemlock, Canadian hemlock

54o 34.995N
5o 55.997W

The Eastern hemlocks are frequent forest trees of eastern north America, from Ontario to Alabama. The Belfast Botanic Gardens specimen is (see Note below) a young tree on the main path close to the Tropical Ravine. Eastern hemlock is very similar to and hard to distinguish from the western hemlock Tsuga heterophylla; both have hairs on the twigs, with the western species' hairs described as long and fluffy and the eastern species' as short. However the most reliable feature seems to be the row of short, inverted, leaves on the upper surface of the eastern hemlock twigs (see photo below). The cones of the two species are quite similar.

Note 2019: This tree was felled in connection with the Tropical Ravine restoration works.

Tsuga canadensis in Belfast Botanic Gardens Tsuga canadensis foliage
Eastern Hemlock tree in Belfast Botanic Gardens Eastern Hemlock twig showing variable leaf length and distinctive upside-down leaves along top of branch (arrowed)
Tsuga canadensis cones Tsuga canadensis pollen cones
Mature cones of eastern hemlock Pollen cones of eastern hemlock

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2017. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

Click here to view the rest of the tree archive