Western Hemlock is the State Tree of Washington. Tsuga Heterophylla is the scientific name of Western Hemlock and it is commonly known as Western hemlock-spruce or Pacific hemlock. Tsuga is the genus of the Western Hemlock and T. Heterophylla is its species. The Washington’s State tree Western Hemlock is belongs from the family of Pinaceae, which is commonly native to the west coast of North America, along with its northwestern limit on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, and southeastern limit in northern Sonoma County, California.
When a state bodies select a symbol for the state it should be represent extra ordinary design, quality, availability, expression, and usefulness, cultural, traditional and religious back ground, which go back thousands of years or its popularities The Western Hemlock tree is the most valuable tree species in Washington. On the basis of the facts mentioned above, the state General Assembly was approved the Western Hemlock as the official tree of the state on June 23, 1931.
The Facts of the State Tree of Washington [Western Hemlock]
- Common Names : Western hemlock-spruce or Pacific hemlock
- Family: Pinaceae
- Genus: Tsuga
- Species: Tsuga Heterophylla
- Found in: native to the west coast of North America, along with its northwestern limit on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, and southeastern limit in northern Sonoma County, California
- Leaf: The leaves of the Western hemlock trees are small in size of 5–23 mm long and 1.5–2 mm broad, needle-like strongly trodden in cross-section, with a delicately serrated margin and a candidly acute apex. The leaves are average to dark green on the front side and the underside has two unique white bands of stomata with a single thin midrib between the bands, which is also green in color. It is spirally arranged on the spurts but twisted to recline in two ranks on each side of the shoot at the base.
- Flower: The Western Hemlock tree has produces both male and female flower in same tree in different location. The male flowers are yellow, round and tiny in size and the females are purple, upright, in tops of the trees.
- Fruit: The fruit of the Western hemlock called “Cone”. The cones are small, woody and egg shape, around 1 inch long with plentiful thin, imbricate scales; pendent, sessile, and terminal. The cones are green in color when it is immature, which are turn to gray brown at the time of maturity.
- Twig: The twigs of the Western hemlock are slender, flexible, and minutely teenage; toughen by diagonally-raised and rounded leaf scars.
- Bark: The bark of the Western hemlock trees is thin when it is juvenile, superficially scaly, and brown to black. It becomes red-brown color with trodden ridges when the trees are matured. Inner bark is dark red streaked with purple.
- Form: Western hemlock tree is a large evergreen conifer, which can be reaches about 200 feet tall and 4 feet in diameter. It has a pyramidal crown and lacy foliage, which has been droops at the terminal ends.
- Purpose: ornamental.
- Symbolism: Destroy sexual drives *POISON*
The Washington’s State tree the Western hemlock is a shade tolerance tree, it prefers to grow up under the canopy of other trees. It grows on a multiplicity of soils along with acid organic top layer (pH 3.5-5). The temperature is cool maritime along the coast, cold mountain areas in the inside, the annual rainfall varies between (500-)900-3,800 mm, decreasing towards the interior. Instead, seeds sprout massively on fallen trees (‘nurse logs’), from where some of saplings are able to send roots down into the soil; as a result T. heterophylla often stands in rows long after the nurse log has rotten away.
It has an interesting fact that the Queen Victoria regarded this tree for its timber so highly, that she requested its name was changed to Tsuga albertiana, in honor of her husband, Albert. It was very momentary, however, and its original name, Tsuga heterophylla, is now used.
The Western hemlock trees are the most economically significant timber hemlock. The wood is better-quality to that of other hemlocks for building purposes. Primarily it is uses as light framing, sheathing, roofing, subflooring, boxes, crates, and general millwork. It is also used in paper industries like pulp, newsprint and wrapping paper industries, but the demand for hemlock lumber is presently increasing. It is also used as fodder of animals such as Deer and rabbits, Chickadees and small mammals. Hemlock bark was widely used in the tanning of hides. Native Americans tribes have used the inner bark, roots, and needles of the Western Hemlock in antiseptics, cold medicines, and remedies for rheumatism and arthritis.
In some ancient North American traditions, western hemlock was an important herb for women. Among the Kwakwaka’wakw people, female warriors made head dresses from western hemlock, for ceremonial dances.
To sum up, Western Hemlock is the people’s favorite State Tree of Washington; it outstandingly represents and glorifies the spirit of Washington culture.