Sherpa Guides > Virginia Mountains > Carolina Hemlock

Carolina Hemlock

Most hemlock in Virginia is Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). But a unique species, Carolina hemlock, is well suited to the rocky soil on the northwest slope of Havens WMA. The seldom-seen tree, endemic to the southern Appalachians, is at the northern extension of its small range that extends southwestward into the Carolinas, Tennessee, and northern Georgia. Subtle differences help tree enthusiasts tell the two hemlocks apart. Needles of the Carolina hemlock are spirally arranged on the branches, giving them a bottle-brush appearance, while needles of the Eastern hemlock lie flat in a single plane. Ruffed grouse eat hemlock seeds. Deer, red squirrels, and rabbits browse the twigs.

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