Tamarack

Silhouette - tamarack
  • Latin name: Larix laricina (Du Roi) K. Koch
  • French name: Mélèze laricin
  • Synonym(s): Juniper , hackmatack , eastern larch , American larch , Alaska larch
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 183412
Description

Leaves

  • Needle cross section - tamarack
  • Dwarf shoot with tuft of needles - tamarack

Form

  • Flattened above, keeled below, or triangular or 4-sided
  • 15–60 per tuft

Length

  • 2–5 cm

Colour

  • Bluish-green

Buds

Form

  • Terminal bud smooth
  • On dwarf shoots, surrounded by a circle of hairs

Colour

  • Dark red or brown

Twigs

Form

  • Hairless

Colour

  • Orange-brown to pinkish

Seed cones (immature)

Form

  • Occasionally a leafy shoot develops at the tip

Length

  • 5–10 mm

Colour

  • Conelets red, pink, or yellowish-green

Seed cones (mature)

  • Cone scale; outer surface showing bract position (left), inner surface with winged seed (right) - tamarack

Form

  • Broadly ovoid
  • On stout, short, curved stalks

Length

  • 1–2 cm

Structure

  • Scales up to 20, smooth
  • Bracts much shorter than the scales, visible only at the base of the cone

Timing

  • Cones begin to open in mid-August
  • Seeds shed during the following months

Seeds

  • Bract (left); winged seed inner surface (right) - tamarack

Length

  • Seed 3 mm
  • Seed wing 6 mm

Bark

Form

  • Thin, smooth when young, becoming scaly

Colour

  • Grey when young, becoming reddish-brown
  • Newly exposed bark reddish-purple

Size

Height

  • To 25 m
  • Trees often stunted with short needles and narrow cone scales in nutrient-poor bogs, and near the tree line in the far north and on mountain slopes

Diameter

  • To 40 cm

Maximum age

  • 150 years

Tree form

  • Silhouette - tamarack

Forest-grown

Trunk

  • Slender, straight or sinuous

Crown

  • Narrowly conical, open, becoming irregular with age
  • Principal branches horizontal or sometimes ascending

Root system

  • Shallow, wide-spreading

Habitat

Site

  • Cold, wet, poorly drained sites such as sphagnum bogs and muskeg
  • Best growth on moist, well-drained light soils

Associated species

  • Mixed with black spruce and/or eastern white-cedar on poorly drained sites
  • Mixed with black spruce, white spruce, trembling aspen, and white birch on well-drained sites
  • May occur in pure stands in a narrow band around bogs

Range

Across Canada

Insects and diseases

Insects and diseases that are found most frequently and/or that cause the most damage in our Canadian forests.

Photos
  • Tamarack
  • Tamarack
  • Tamarack
  • Tamarack
  • Tamarack
  • Tamarack
  • Tamarack
  • Tamarack
  • Tamarack
  • Tamarack
  • Tamarack
Distribution map
Distribution map - tamarack
Date modified: