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Tsuga diversifolia (Maxim.) Mast.

Northern Japanese Hemlock

Modern name

Tsuga diversifolia (Maxim.) Mast.


Abies diversifolia Maxim.; T. sieboldii var. nana Carr.; Abies tsuga var. nana Endl.

A tree 70 to 80 ft high in Japan, with a trunk up to 6 or 7 ft in girth; young shoots downy, becoming reddish brown. Leaves 14 to 58 in. long, linear, of uniform width, margins not toothed, distinctly notched at the apex, dark glossy green above, with two clearly defined white lines of stomata beneath. Cones egg-shaped, 12 to 34 in. long.

A native of Japan, where it attains a large size in the mountains of central and northern Honshu; introduced by John Gould Veitch and subsequently distributed by his firm as “Abies Tsuga nana”, a name by which it was long known in gardens. It is at once distinguished from T. sieboldii by its closer habit and downy more highly coloured shoots, its shorter leaves, and by always starting into growth earlier in the spring. Its cones are somewhat smaller and egg-shaped (elongate and more tapered in T. sieboldii). In both species the leaves are notched at the apex, which helps to distinguish them from T. caroliniana.

With us T. diversifolia grows slowly and remains more of a shrub than a tree for many years. Because of its dainty habit it makes a very pleasing lawn plant, especially in spring, while the young shoots are still bright yellow-green. It has, however, remained rare and is mostly to be seen in collections. Examples of known planting date are: National Pinetum, Bedgebury, Kent, pl. 1926, 26 × 214 ft (1969); Little Hall, Canterbury, Kent, pl. 1906, 40 × 314 ft (1961); Hergest Croft, Heref., pl. 1916, 30 × 3 ft (1961). Other examples are: Kew, 34 × 3 ft (1973); Wakehurst Place, Sussex, 34 × 312 ft (1966).

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

specimens: Kew, 38 × 334 ft and 36 × 314 ft (1981); Dropmore, Bucks., 48 × 414 + 312 + 314 ft (1982); National Pinetum, Bedgebury, Kent, pl. 1926, three specimens, the largest 33 × 212 ft (1981); Leonardslee, Sussex, Coronation Garden, 70 × 312 + 212 ft (1979) and, Pinetum, 50 × 212 ft (1984); Blackmoor, Hants, in Orchard, 38 × 334 ft (1982); Kingsway Gardens, Chandlers Ford, Hants (former Hillier nursery), 42 × 414 ft (1983); Hergest Croft, Heref., pl. 1916, 50 × 414 ft (1980); Dawyck, Peebl., pl. 1914, 59 × 334 ft (1982).



Other species in the genus