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.
|Eastern Hemlock tree in Belfast Botanic Gardens||Eastern Hemlock twig showing variable leaf length and distinctive upside-down leaves along top of branch (arrowed)|
|Mature cones of eastern hemlock||Pollen cones of eastern hemlock|
Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2017. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.
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