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The mountain hemlock cultivar ‘Bump’s Blue’ growing in the Arboretum. (Photo by Niall Dunne)

Mountain hemlock is an incredible species, able to grow in an environment where conditions alternate between deep winter snows and harsh summer dry spells, and where growing seasons can sometimes be measured in mere weeks.

In subalpine forests of the Pacific Northwest, the tree provides food and habitat for numerous animal species. Because of its toughness, it also adapts well to the urban landscape, where it is prized for its compact habit and fine-textured foliage. Several cultivars of the tree are available, some of which can be found in the Washington Park Arboretum, along with the straight species.

In the latest issue of the Arboretum Bulletin, Theodore Hoss profiles this versatile native tree.