Skip to Main Content Ray Howard Library Shoreline Community College

Tree Campus: Western Hemlock

Tree Campus SCC is a multi-year and interdisciplinary college initiative to document, map, and celebrate the incredible diversity of trees planted on the campus. With over 200 species, Shoreline Community College is an arboreal paradise that deserves to b


Western Hemlock

kʷaləkʷəc - S. Lushootseed

Tsuga heterophylla (PINACEAE)



W. Coast N. America, Alaska to N. Calif.



"Roosevelt elk and black-tailed deer browse western hemlock in coastal Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. In the Oregon Cascades deer mice consumed about 22 percent of the western hemlock seed fall. This consumption occurred just before or during the germination process . Black bear girdle pole-size western hemlock and larger saplings or damage the bark at the base of the trees. Snowshoe hare and rabbit clip off the main stems of western hemlock seedlings. Mountain beaver clip the stems and lateral branches of seedlings and girdle the base of saplings.

Old-growth western hemlock stands provide hiding and thermal cover for many wildlife species. In the southern Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho, northeastern Washington, and adjacent British Columbia, grizzly bear have been known to use heavily timbered western hemlock forests . In the western Oregon Cascades, western hemlock provides habitat for many species of small mammals, including the northern flying squirrel and red tree vole. In Washington and Oregon, the northern spotted owl is often found in forests dominated by Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and western hemlock. The majority of barred owls observed in British Columbia have occurred in the Columbia Forest Biotic Area in which western hemlock and western redcedar are the major climax species. Western hemlock is used for nest trees by cavity nesting bird species such as the yellow-bellied sapsucker and northern three-toed woodpecker." [1]


Equity: Cultural and Historical Significance

[1] Alaska Indians made coarse bread from the inner bark of western hemlock . Young western hemlock saplings can be sheared to make excellent hedges. In Britain western hemlock is often planted as an ornamental .



"Western hemlock wood is recognized as an all-purpose raw material. It is one of the best pulpwoods for paper and paper board products. It is the principal source of alpha cellulose fiber used in the manufacture of rayon, cellophane, and many plastics. Other uses are lumber for general construction, railway ties, mine timbers, and marine piling. The wood is suited also for interior finish, boxes and crates, kitchen cabinets, flooring, and ceiling, gutter stock, and veneer for plywood." [1]



[1] Tesky, Julie L. 1992. Tsuga heterophylla. In: Fire Effects Information System,. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available:

Privacy Statement
Search the Library Website