Ed Golson Outdoor Education

tamarack

Scientific Name: Larix laricina

Description: The tamarack is an unusual tree. It is a conifer that is related to pine trees, yet each autumn the needles change color and fall off the tree, just like a deciduous tree. Normally this tree grows to about 40 feet high, but under the right conditions it can reach up to 90 feet tall. On younger trees the bark is smooth, but as the tree gets older its bark becomes much rougher. The needles of this tree are blue-green in color and are about an inch long. Unlike normal pine trees, the needles of tamaracks are triangular instead of round. Tamarack needles are very soft and flexible. Each fall the needles turn to a bright yellow color and then fall to the ground. The cones of tamarack trees are less than an inch long and usually stay attached to the tree for several years. 

Tamaracks grow best in swampy areas where there is lots of water and the soil is slightly acidic. They have one of the widest ranges of any coniferous tree.

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