The volatile terpenoid fraction from needles in 13 cultivars of Tsuga canadensis L. (Carriere) was analyzed by gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The results of this study are considered along with previously reported results for foliar terpenoid levels of the Asian (T. sieboldii, T. chinensis, T. diversifolia), western North American (T. mertensiana, T. heterophylla), and eastern North American species (T. canadensis, T. caroliniana) of hemlock to draw conclusions about the potential of cultivar host resistance to the hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae Annand). It is suggested that hemlocks in eastern North America have adapted their terpenoid chemistry for protection against endemic defoliators and that this has made them vulnerable to non-native, sucking pests such as adelgids and scales. Some cultivars of T. canadensis have a terpenoid profile that resembles that of the resistant noneastern North American species and are candidates for biological screening for resistance. Among the cultivars, the variation in terpenoid chemistry did not absolutely correspond with the considerable differences in morphological characters observed, indicating that the terpenoid chemistry is not definitively coupled with hemlock morphology.
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