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Common (vernacular) names applied to California vascular plants

compiled by Elizabeth Painter

up to date as of May 1, 2016

Common names (also referred to as vernacular names) are applied differently at different times and places by different users. This list is compiled from many sources and is intended to be as comprehensive as possible. It is not intended to indicate which common name is correct or preferred. Please send comments about this page to Elizabeth Painter (

TaxonTsuga mertensiana
Family common name(s)pine
Genus common name(s)hemlock; hemlock tree; tree hemlock; hemlock-spruce; hemlock spruce
Species common name(s)mountain hemlock; Sierra hemlock; alpine hemlock; Mertens's hemlock; Mertens' hemlock; Mertens hemlock
Common name(s) generally applied to other taxa or multiple taxawestern hemlock; western hemlock-spruce, western hemlock spruce, California hemlock, California hemlock spruce, Californian hemlock spruce, black hemlock, Patton's hemlock, Patton hemlock, Patton spruce applied to multiple Tsuga taxa
NotesMertens is a proper name, so upper case preferable; Merten's, Merten are errors; when Sierra is used as a proper name, upper case preferable
Synonymy: The Jepson Manual (1993), FNA, PLANTS, etcPinus mertensiana Bong.
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