The western hemlock can reach up to 165 or 198 feet high (50 or 60 metres). Its normal lifespan is from 80 to 100 years, but it can live up to 500 years.
The top of the tree is very flexible, and generally bends away from the direction of the wind. Its drooping branches give it a graceful appearance. Owing to its shallow root system, it is susceptible to damage by windthrow. It is also susceptible to damage by forest fires.
The western hemlock requires a lot of water, and generally thrives in coastal regions. It is intolerant of long dry periods and intense heat. It grows well in a variety of soils, but prefers moist, rich, deep soils.
It regenerates by natural seeding, and seedlings are commonly found on rotten logs or decomposed stumps.
The western hemlock grows in pure stands, or as the dominant species in a mixed stand. It is often found with western redcedar, Douglas-fir, grand fir, and some hardwoods.
This beautiful tree is often used as an avenue tree in parks, in addition to being an important source of wood pulp and lumber. It has light, fairly hard wood. It is used in general construction for flooring, interior finishing, plywood, railway ties and so forth.
Fruits, very small cone. Needles, single and flat.