PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — Many states throughout the country have their own songs, dogs, foods, and trees that they call their own. Pennsylvania is no different.
The Eastern Hemlock is the state’s tree and was designated as such in 1931. However, back in 1896, Dr. Joseph T. Rothrock, who has been called the father of Pennsylvania forestry was quoted as saying “If Pennsylvania were to select one tree as characteristic of our state, nothing would be better than the hemlock.”
According to Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the tree, also called Canada hemlock or hemlock spruce, is known for its large trunk and evergreen foliage. The tree has played a role in the state’s historical development.
State Symbols USA has said that early settlers used the tree as a resource to build log cabins and as a source of tannic acid.
The tree is slow growing and can take up to 300 years to reach full maturity It may live for 800 years or more, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The tree only grows in regions of cool and humid climates in the northeastern United States.
Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says that the tree has been threatened by an invasive insect called the Hemlock woolly adelgid. These insects are very tiny and were accidentally introduced to Virginia from Asia. The insects feed by sucking nutrient-rich fluids from the needles, and infested trees often die.
The Department has developed a Hemlock Conservation Plan that aims to conserve the state tree for years to come which can be seen here.