Eastern hemlock found in Macon County, AlabamaThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Alabama is currently the southern limit of the range of eastern hemlock [Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carriere]. In 2012, several well preserved stumps were excavated from a farm located in Notasulga, Alabama (32 º 33” 6’ N; 85º 40” 22’ W). Even though they were buried in a saturated soil for approximately 1,500 years, the stumps were remarkably well preserved. The low-density wood from one stump was identified as hemlock (Tsuga spp.) due to presence of piceoid, cross-field pitting. We assume the excavated stump was eastern hemlock. Uncorrected carbon dating of one sample was 1580 radiocarbon years (± 25 years) before 1950. This equates to ca. 418 to 541 AD. The diameter of the largest stump excavated was approximately 50 cm. The age of a 26-cm stump was approximately 74 years. The location of this site is about 1 degree further south in latitude than the southernmost stand in Jefferson County (approximately 175 km southeast). To date, the Macon County location is likely the most southern documented Coastal Plain site where a hemlock stump has been excavated.