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Mountain Hemlock · Tsuga mertensiana
Description: Common to subalpine zones of the Cascades and Olympics, this gorgeous conifer may grow anywhere from a dwarf size of 6 to 10 feet in the upper reaches of its mountain home, to 80 to 100 feet at lower altitudes. It has an irregular habit, with tufts of dense, gray-green needles, and branchlets of unequal length. Needles are densely set all over the twig, like a bottle brush. Seed cones are narrowly cylindrical, up to 2 1/2 inches long. Mountain hemlock thrives in westside gardens, where it remains a small, graceful tree with beautiful evergreen foliage. Give it sun or part sun, regular water, and well-drained soil. It also makes a great container specimen.