Needles are glossy, yellow-green, 1/2" long, appearing to grow from opposite sides of branchlets. appearing 2-ranked, or in a flattened profile, from a short stem, with grooved uppersides, persisting 3-4 years.
Cones are light brown, elliptical, 1" long with thin papery scales, hanging along ends of branchlets, maturing in summer of the first season.
Bark is thin, brown, finely scaled, becoming thicker and harder, dark brown and red-tinged, deeply furrowed, with flat, wide ridges irregularly interconnected with narrow cross-ridges.
Evergreen. Native to the Pacific Coast from Alaska to northern California at 2,000-5,000' elevation. Western hemlock is mainly a tree of temperate rainforests, but it also occurs in the northern Rockies. On the coast it may experience 150" of rain (in Alaska), or less than 40" (Eureka, California). Inland it is confined to shady, north-facing slopes and stream bottoms. It tolerates a wide variety of soils and ranges from sea level to 2,000 feet. Grows mostly among Sequoia sempervirens, Picea sitchensis and Thuja plicata.