Hemlock at Lookout Mountain
flat, spread in all directions
Cones: 2" long, rounded
Bark: Gray, small deep
Where: 4000 ft. to the timberline
short, flat needles like Western
stick out in all directions instead of lying flat, giving it the
appearance of a
worn-out bottle brush. The
needles have white lines on both surfaces and often have a blue-green
color. The leader at the top of the tree curves
and droops over like Western Hemlock.
The cones look
like giant Western Hemlock cones. They are
about the same size
Spruce, but the hemlock
are rounded and thicker.
The gray bark
deep furrows on large trees.
Where it grows: Mountain
Hemlock is common in the
higher elevations of the Cascades and Olympic Mountains, often at the
Subalpine Fir. Sometimes it grows in pure stands of large trees.
However at the timberline, it often remains a dwarf, creeping shrub.
The range also extends into the mountains of California, the northern
Rocky Mountains, and along the coast of Alaska to Anchorage.
The lumber has
little commercial value. However, it is a popular ornamental, not only
due to its attractive blue-green color, but also because it adapts well
to warmer, wet climates and grows slowly.
is named after its
discoverer, Karl H. Mertens. Other common names: Alpine Hemlock and