Larix laricina (tamarack, eastern larch)

Tamarack, also known as eastern larch, is a conifer of swampy boreal ecosystems, best recognized by its needles, which emerge in clusters from little branch spurs. Unlike most conifers, tamarack is deciduous, shedding its needles in the fall; tamarack bogs look decidedly dreary and "dead" in the winter.

European larch (Larix decidua) is sometimes cultivated in North America and can be found in urban settings throughout the Midwest (it also occasionally escapes cultivation). It is a taller than tamarack, reaching 140 feet in height, and its cones and needles are about 150% larger.

Midwestern range
midwestern range

Larix laricina
tamarack favors swampy, boreal ecosystems


ALarix laricina
bark becomes scaly with age


Larix laricina
needles radiate from spurs

Larix laricina
needles are about an inch long, with a keel on the lower side

Larix laricina
cones are small and papery, under an inch long


Larix laricina
trees have irregularly conic shapes, and reach about 60 feet in height

References: Peattie 1948, GN Jones 1971, Miller & Jaques 1978, Kricher & Morrison 1988, Preston 1989, Mohlenbrock 2006, Kershaw 2007, Sibley 2009, Voss & Reznicek 2012, Mohlenbrock 2014, Hilty 2021, USDA 2021.

Kuo, Michael & Melissa Kuo (November, 2021). Larix laricina (tamarack, eastern larch). Retrieved from the midwestnaturalist.com website: www.midwestnaturalist.com/larix_laricina.html

All text and images © , midwestnaturalist.com.