Other Common Names:
- Hackmatack, eastern larch, black larch, red larch, American larch
- Deciduous coniferous tree, up to 20m tall.
- Needles are borne on spurs in clusters of 10-20. First year twigs have single needles.
- Needles are three sided, up to 3.8 cm long, turning yellow, and falling from the tree in autumn.
- Bark of young trees gray and smooth, turning flaky in maturity, with pink or reddish hues.
- Needles emerge from spurs, which remain on the branches after the leaves have fallen off.
- Tamarack live up to 180 years.
- Self-pruning (lower branches tend to fall off naturally)
- Female cones egg shaped, up to .9” long, with 12-25 seed scales. Red when fertile, becoming brown and woody after pollination.
- Male flowers are yellow, and rounded, appearing near branch tips.
- Each tree contains male and female cones (monoecious.)
- Seeds are primarily wind dispersed, but also dispersed by red squirrels.
- Tamaracks reproduce via seeds, layering, and the roots are known to sometimes produce new shoots.
- There are no other deciduous coniferous trees in the region, and no other trees with needles in bundles of 10-20.
- Often one of the first trees to grow after a fire.
- The seeds are eaten by various rodents, such as red squirrels, mice, voles, and shrews.
- The inner bark is eaten by porcupines
- Snowshoe hares eat tamarack seedlings and bark.
- Grouse and caribou eat the needles
- Various birds nest in tamarack trees, including the white-throated sparrow, song sparrow, veery, common yellow throat, and Nashville warbler.
- Tea can be made from the branches, needles, and roots.
- Young shoots can be boiled and eaten
- Larch lumber is valued for its waterproof qualities, and is used for fence posts and poles.
- Used principally for pulpwood, not a major commercial lumber species.
- Ornamental tree
- Often used in bonsai
- Used to make dogsled runners and fish traps in Alaska, and goose and duck decoys in northern Alberta.
- Was used by the Algonquian First Nation for making snowshoes.
- The roots were used to stitch birch bark canoes together.
- “Larix” is the Ancient Greek word denoting the larch tree.
- “Tamarack” is the Algonquian name for the species, meaning “wood used for snowshoes.”
- Laricina is a Latin word meaning “similar to Larix.”
- Tamarack grows in every province and territory of Canada.