General: Tree to 50 (60) m tall; narrow crown, with noticeably drooping leader (growing tip); young twigs covered with mix of short hairs and longer hairs; bark rough and scaly, strongly furrowed and ridged in older trees, dark brown to reddish-brown.
Leaves: Needles somewhat flattened, rounded at tip, 8-20 (25) mm long and characteristically unequal in length, spread unevenly at right angles to the branches to form feathery, flat sprays; glossy and yellow-green on upper surface, almost entirely white-stomatiferous on the lower.
Cones: Seed cones maturing from green to brown, 1.5-2.5 cm long, oblong-egg-shaped; pollen cones yellow, 3-4 mm long.
Notes: Hybrids with T. mertensiana have been reported (T. x jeffreyi [Henry] Henry) but are considered rare; some reports may be at upper elevations of its range where T. heterophylla may take on some characteristics of T. mertensiana, e.g., leaves less 2-ranked and stomatal bands on the lower leaf surfaces less distinct.
1. Needles flattened in cross section, grooved and greenish on upper surface, with two white (stomatiferous) bands below, tending to form flat spray-like branches; cones egg-shaped, 1.5-2.5 cm long......................Tsuga heterophylla
1. Needles nearly semi-circular in cross section (flat on top), bluish-green on both surfaces, not forming flat spray-like branches, but spreading in all directions; cones cylindric, narrowed at each end, 3.7 cm long........................Tsuga mertensiana
Source: the Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
Habitat / Range
Moist to dry slopes, river terraces and flats in the lowland and montane zones; common in and W of the Coast-Cascade Mountains in W BC and in SE BC; N to SE AK and S to N CA, N ID and NW MT.
A very shade-tolerant, submontane to subalpine, Western North American evergreen conifer distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Occurs in cool temperate and cool mesothermal climates; its occurrence increases with precipitation, and decreases with increasing elevation and continentality. Most productive on submontane, fresh, and nutrient-medium soils within summer-wet cool mesothermal climates. Common on nitrogen-poor, water-shedding and water-receiving sites; on nitrogen-rich soils restricted to acid organic materials. Regenerate on acid organic substrates and on decaying coniferous wood
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2022-10-06 12:59:05 AM
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