Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

cones of Western Hemlock, TSUGA HETEROPHYLLA

from the the August 16, 2009 Newsletter, reporting on a visit to Rogue River National Forest in southwestern  Oregon:

Upon leaving Crater Lake and entering Rogue River National Forest, Anita and Roland signed into Farewell Campground for an overnight stay and I lit off backpacking downstream on the wonderful Upper Rogue River Trail.  A frequent large coniferous tree in moist, sheltered spots along the river caught my eye because sometimes its branches bore both old and new cones, as shown above.

The small cone is similar to a pinecone but notice that instead of its branches bearing clusters of sharp, stiff needles, as a pine does, the leaves are flat and occur singly. This is a hemlock, the Western Hemlock, TSUGA HETEROPHYLLA, able to grow up to 175 feet tall (50 m).

Western Hemlocks are similar to Eastern Hemlocks of eastern North America, except that they can grow over twice as large. Also the Eastern's cone scales are not wavy-margined the way those in the picture are. In the Crater Lake area the Mountain Hemlock with much larger cones also occurs, but at higher elevations.