Hemlock Facts

Hemlock Facts
Hemlock is evergreen tree that belongs to the pine family. There are around 10 species of hemlock that are native to America (4 species) and Asia (remaining 6 species). Hemlock inhabits dense, moist habitats that are characterized by dry, rocky soil. It can be found deep into the forests, on the rocky ridges, hillsides, on the river banks and in the ravines. Hemlock usually grows in shade, in areas that provide enough rain and snow during the year. Hemlock is cultivated as ornamental plant, to prevent erosion and because of its wood that has application in numerous industries. Major threat for the survival of hemlocks in the wild is sap-sucking insect (called Hemlock Woolly Adelgid) that was accidently brought to the North America in the previous century.
Interesting Hemlock Facts:
Hemlock can reach 33 to 197 feet in height. It develops conical or irregularly shaped crown.
Bark of hemlock tree can be grey or reddish-brown colored. It is furrowed and covered with scales.
Hemlock develops flat, needle-like leaves. They are less than one inch long and spirally arranged on the branches. Young leaves are light-green colored. They change color into dark green when they get old.
Like other types of conifers, hemlock develops cones instead of flowers. Hemlock produces individual male and female cones on the same tree (monoecious plant). Pinecones are oval, brown colored and small in size (one of the smallest in the world of pines). They develop at the end of the branches.
It takes around 20 years for seed to develop. Seed are miniature and equipped with wings to facilitate dispersal by wind.
Hemlock is an important food source for the wild animals. Rabbits, deer and squirrels like to eat bark, porcupines eat twigs, while birds prefer needles and seed.
Black bears occasionally use large, hollow hemlock trees as shelters.
Crushed needles of hemlock tree release substance that smells just like the poison hemlock (type of herbaceous plant), hence the name-hemlock tree. Unlike poison hemlock, hemlock tree is not poisonous.
Needles of hemlock tree contain vitamin C. They can be consumed in the form of tea. This tea was popular and often consumed by Iroquois Indians in the past.
Hemlock has strong root system which can be used for the prevention of erosion.
Oil extracted from the needles of hemlock tree has application in the industry of perfumes.
Wood of hemlock tree is very popular and often used for roofing, flooring, paneling and in the manufacture of furniture.
Tannic acid extracted from the bark of hemlock tree is used for tanning of leather.
Native Americans used bark for weaving of baskets. Dyes extracted from tree were used for wool coloring.
Hemlock tree can survive from 400 to 800 years in the wild.


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