This tree is the most abundant in the lower forests about the Mountain and ranks next to the Douglas Fir in commercial importance in the lumber industry of the Pacific Northwest. It is a large tree with tall, straight, trunks free from branches throughout the greater portion of its length. The trunk tapers gradually and is covered with moderately thick bark of a russet-brown which on old trunks turns to a much darker color. The foliage is needle-like, fine and lacy and a glossy green on the upper side. The under side however has a silvery tinge. These needles are short, being about one half inch in length and are easily distinguished from its most common associate, the Douglas Fir.
At the very end of the small branchlets, which are thickly covered with this beautiful foliage the small cones, barely over three quarters of an inch long, are found. As a rule the Western Hemlock is characterized by having great numbers of these cones. The cone scales are thin.
This tree is a shade loving tree, thriving in the dense shade of the lower forest and often the small seedlings take root in logs that are lying upon the floor of the forest; several cases have been noted where these seedlings are growing upon log "bridges" which span the small streams about the Mountain. It is this shade-loving characteristic that accounts for its abundance in the Northwest. The wood is of reddish color, fine grained and is very valuable for a great number of purposes. The Western Hemlock is a relative of the Eastern Hemlock which is a common tree in the Northeast but is very much more valuable from a commercial standpoint because of its technical properties and its large size.
C. F. Brockman,
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