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A tree 70 to 100 ft high, with a trunk 6 to 10 ft in girth, and a head of often rounded form; bark reddish brown; young shoots bright grey, minutely hairy. Leaves very shortly stalked, 1⁄4 to 2⁄3 in. long, linear, but often broadest (1⁄16 to 1⁄12 in.) near the rounded base, tapering thence to a bluntish point, margins toothed, dark green above, with a clear, well-defined band of stomata each side of the midrib beneath. The leaves are mainly in two opposite, spreading ranks, but there are also smaller leaves on the upper side of the branchlet pointing forward, flattened to the branchlet, often inverted and showing the white-lined lower surface. Cones 1⁄2 to 7⁄8 in. long, oval, borne on a short downy stalk; the scales broadly obovate, about as wide as long, minutely downy except on the exposed part.
Native of eastern North America from Nova Scotia south-west to the region of the Great Lakes, south through the eastern States to Alabama and Georgia, but confined to the mountains in the southern part of its range; introduced early in the 18th century. This beautiful tree thrives very well in the moister parts of our islands, especially where the soil is good and retentive of moisture. There are good specimens in the west of England, and I have also seen excellent ones at Murthly, and elsewhere in Perthshire. The tree as grown in this country has a strong propensity to branch into several stems near the ground, and to form a large rounded head of branches very distinct from the slenderly tapered form of T. heterophylla. From that species it is also distinct in the usually (not invariably) tapered leaf, in the much more clearly defined, whiter lines beneath, and in the cones being shortly stalked (stalkless in T. heterophylla). Visitors to Boston, Mass., have an opportunity of conveniently inspecting a primaeval wood of hemlock, which covers one of the hills in the beautiful Arnold Arboretum near that city. Here they have formed clean straight trunks, one of which (it may not have been the largest) I found in 1910 to be over 9 ft in girth.
The eastern hemlock grows more slowly in Britain than its western ally, T. heterophylla, and good specimens with a single bole are rare, the best being in Shropshire: Walcot Hall, 70 × 12 ft and 80 × 113⁄4 ft (1975); Oakley Park, 72 × 131⁄2 ft(1971).
T. canadensis is lime-tolerant – more so than any other tsuga according to Messrs Hillier. For its use as a hedging plant see Donald Wyman, Trees for American Gardens, Ed. 2 (1965), pp. 458-9.
The stand of T. canadensis (page 622) seen by Mr Bean in the Arnold Arboretum was not primaeval but second growth. It was largely destroyed by a gale in 1938 and the present trees are therefore third growth. Also the Arnold Arboretum is not near Boston but in it. For these corrections we are indebted to an anonymous writer in the American Dwarf Conifer Notes, Vol. II, No. 2 (6), dated ‘April 1981 (July 1982)’.
For some unexplained reason, most of the best specimens are in Shropshire: Walcot Hall, 70 × 12 ft and 80 × 113⁄4 ft (1975); Oakley Park, the tree mentioned has not been remeasured but another is 82 × 143⁄4 ft (1978); Leaton Knolls, 102 × 10 ft (1981); Hawkstone Park, 88 × 133⁄4 ft (1984). Some others are: Hackwood Park, Hants, 72 × 133⁄4 ft at 2 ft (1977); Lowther Castle, Cumb., 87 × 123⁄4 ft (1979); Powis Castle, Powys, 85 × 103⁄4 ft (1981); Stuckgowan, Dunbart., 92 × 91⁄2 + 9 ft (1982); Monzie Castle, Perths., 85 × 163⁄4 ft at 2 ft (1985).
cv. ‘Hussii’. – Although slow-growing, this is not dwarf.
† cv. ‘Jeddeloh’. – This forms a low mound, with the branches tending to grow spirally round a deepened centre. Ultimate size unknown. According to Krüssmann, the original plant was found by the German nurseryman J.D. zu Jeddeloh in a cemetery, around 1950.
† cv. ‘Minima’. – Of slow growth; branches ascending, drooping at the tips. Put into commerce by Messrs Hesse in 1891. ‘Bennett’ (‘Bennett’s Minima’), of American origin, is said to be almost identical.
f. minuta – The cultivar ‘Jervis’ was mentioned here (page 623), as it was stated in the original description to be very dwarf. However, it now appears that it is the same as the earlier-named ‘Nearing’, and makes a rugged small bush to at least 4 ft high (Welch, Man. Dwf Conif., p. 375 and ill. 463). It was discovered by G. G. Nearing near Port Jervis, Pennsylvania – hence the two names.
cv. ‘Prostrata’. – This was mentioned only because Mr Bean’s description (1933) is the starting point for the cultivar-name. Humphrey Welch suggests that what he saw was an untrained plant of ‘Pendula’.
cv. ‘Pendula’. – As stated on page 623, this name is of uncertain application. But there is still in cultivation a pendulous form of the eastern hemlock that agrees with the ‘var. pendula’ of earlier editions of this work: ‘a very attractive shrub or small tree forming a hemispherical mass of pendulous branches, completely hiding the interior’. The name appears in the Kew Hand-list of 1902 together with the separately mentioned ‘var. Sargentii pendula’. Whether it was the same as Beissner’s ‘var. pendula’ (1884) it is impossible to say, but it quite possibly originated as a seedling in Europe.
cv. ‘Sargentii Pendula’. – For an up-to-date account of the Fishkill weeping hemlocks, see the article by Peter del Tredici in Arnoldia, Vol. 40, pp. 202-33 (1980) and his still more recent book A Giant among Dwarfs (1983). It is now almost certain that the original plants were collected by a Mr Horton at some time after 1859 but before 1865. He kept one for himself and this, which was evidently trained when young, still exists. Although long known, it had previously been thought to be a wild tree growing in its original position (op. cit. (1983), pp. 29-35 and figs 4-7). The other plants he found went to H. W. Sargent at Wodenethe and were distributed as stated. But only two still survive, namely, ‘Brookline’, the plant given to C. S. Sargent, and ‘Tioranda’, planted on General Howland’s estate, Tioranda, at Beacon N. Y. and now in the grounds of the Craig House Sanitarium (op. cit. (1983), figs 8-12). Contrary to what was stated in the letter to the Gardeners’ Chronicle in 1957, cited on page 624, the plant retained by H. W. Sargent at Wodenethe no longer exists (the tree known to the writer of the letter was really ‘Tioranda’).
A slow-growing small tree of narrow habit and rugged outline. Young leaves golden-yellow, later yellowish green. Like ‘Cole’ this was originally found wild in New Hampshire. It is possible that plants now grown as ‘Aurea’ are this clone.
Abies canadensis microphylla Lindl
T. canadensis var. minuta Teuscher in New Fl. and Sylv., Vol. 7 (1935), pp. 274-5 and fig. lxxxix