Tsuga canadensis is a
native tree with strongly flattened, blunt needles, appearing
as if arranged in a single plane from the two sides of the
twigs. Each needle has two pale elongate
stripes along the under surface (this is not a unique character,
similar stripes are also present on several other species).
The abruptly narrowed leaf bases distinguish it from the
similar Abies balsamea whose leaves are broadly rounded
at the base. It has the potential to be a large tree and
when it grows in dense stands the ground layer is often
nearly bare beneath the trees.
Tsuga canadensis is near
the northwestern extreme of its range in Wisconsin, extending
a little into eastern Minnesota and then east to Newfoundland
and south to Michigan and Maryland, and in the Appalachians
south to northern Alabama and Georgia. In Wisconsin the
best stands are in the north, but it also extends farther
south locally near Lake Michigan in the east and in the
southwestern counties. It is an important component of the
northern mixed forests and like Thuja occidentalis
and Taxus canadensis it appears to suffer from deer
overbrowsing the seedlings.