The answer to last week’s mystery is eastern hemlock, Tsuga canadensis, pictured below.
The eastern hemlock is a forest giant, affectionately nicknamed the Redwood of the East. It can live for over 500 years and reach heights of more than 170 feet. (Note: The eastern hemlock is not poisonous or related to the poisonous hemlock of the herbaceous species.)
This species thrives on streams-sides and is frequently found on steep, north facing rock slopes. It presents a very graceful appearance with dense branches that reach the ground.
Hemlock foliage is an important source of food and shelter in eastern forests, particularly in Winter when hardwood trees are dormant.
Historically, hemlock bark was an important source of tannin for the leather tanning industry. Hemlock also boasts the unusual power of holding spikes, so the lumber is often used for general construction and objects like crates.
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