This is a tall evergreen coniferous tree species that is common in south-eastern and western BC.
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.
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.
Seed cones maturing from green to brown, 1.5-2.5 cm long, oblong-egg-shaped; pollen cones yellow, 3-4 mm long.
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.
If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.
Illustration Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
Present from Summer to Fall
Source: The USDA
||Value / Class
Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
of field plots
species was recorded in:
BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in
|CDF(71), CMA(1), CWH(5619), ESSF(920), ICH(4231), IDF(104), MH(373), MS(75), SBS(128)|
Source: Klinkenberg 2013
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