Canadian hemlock and common yew are the most shade-tolerant evergreen trees. Concolor fir, American holly, white fir and western arborvitae tolerate light levels of shade.
Canadian hemlock is a long-lived, pyramidal tree that grows well in climate zones three to seven. Mature trees can grow to more than 100 feet tall. The tree is native to eastern North American from Canada down to Georgia. It can be found growing wild in valleys and on mountain slopes. The hemlock woolly adelgid is an exotic pest that threatens the species.
Common yew is also a long-lived tree that is native to England and grows in climate zones four to seven. The species can vary in size from a shrub to a 50-foot-tall tree. Trees usually have multiple stems of decay-resistant wood. Grazing wildlife such as deer and rabbits often damage the foliage and bark of yew trees.
American holly tolerates less shade than hemlock or yew, but may survive in moderately shaded areas. It is a broad leaf, evergreen tree found growing in zones five to nine. Its native range is moist areas of forest in the eastern and central United States. Female trees bear bright red berries annually. The fruit is an important food source for birds.