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Mountain Hemlock - Tsuga mertensiana

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Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4
* (see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

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  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Mountain Hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 05/25/2012
    Population Size

    Score0-1 - Moderate to Large: Population size is imprecisely known but is believed to be >10,000 individuals.


    Range Extent

    Score1 - Peripheral, Disjunct or Sporadic Distribution in MT: Widespread species that is peripheral, disjunct or sporadically distributed within MT such that it occurs in <5% of the state (<7,500 sq. miles or the combined area of Beaverhead and Ravalli Counties) or is restricted to 4-5 sub-basins.

    CommentPeripheral and sporadically distributed in northwest Montana.

    Area of Occupancy

    Score0-1 - Moderate to High. Occurs in >10 Subwatersheds (6th Code HUC’s), though the species' distribution is not sufficiently documented to place it within one class.



    Score0 - Stable or Increasing: Population size, range, and/or available habitat stable, increasing or fluctuating in the recent past (approximately 30 years).



    Score0 - Low: Impacts, if any, to the species are expected to be minor or insignificant (affecting <10% of populations) in severity, scope and immediacy.


    Intrinsic Vulnerability

    Score0 - Low Vulnerability: Species does not have any unusual or specific life history or biological attributes or limted reproductive potential which makes it susceptible to extirpation from stochastic events or other adverse impacts to its habitat and thus slow to recover.


    Environmental Specificity

    Score1 - Moderate: Species is restricted to a specific habitat that is more widely distributed or to several restricted habitats and is typically dependent upon relatively unaltered, good-quality habitat (C Values of 5-7).


    Raw Conservation Status Score

    Score 2 to 4 total points scored out of a possible 19.

General Description
Small to medium-size trees to 45 m tall with a narrow crown and slightly drooping leader. Bark grey to reddish brown and deeply fissured. Leaves somewhat thickened, whitish on both surfaces, yellow- to blue-green, 12–20 mm long, surrounding the stems or upturned. Seed cones purple, 25–60 mm long, nearly linear. Scales fan-shaped, as broad as long (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Range Comments
In MT in Sanders, Lincoln, Mineral, Flathead and Missoula counties; AK to CA, ID, MT (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 7

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Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)


  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View WorldCat Record   View Online Publication
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    • Habeck, J. R. 1967. Mountain hemlock communities in western Montana. Northwest Science 41(4):169-177.
    • Lesica, P. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX.
    • Little, E.L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agriculture Handbook No. 541. U.S. Forest Service, Washington, D.C. 375 pp.
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Citation for data on this website:
Mountain Hemlock — Tsuga mertensiana.  Montana Field Guide.  Montana Natural Heritage Program.  Retrieved on December 1, 2015, from
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