Ontario Trees & Shrubs website

Tamarack
(Larix laricina)

Other common names: Alaska Larch, American Larch, Eastern Larch, Hackmatack, Juniper

French names: Mélèze laricin

Family: Pine Family (Pinaceae)

Group: Larches

Distinctive features: Tree; Whorls of needles.

Similar species:
  •   European Larch (Larix decidua) - branches are droopy.


Leaves: Whorls of soft needles.

Habitat: Wet Areas;  Wet areas.

Books: Trees in Canada: 74   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Common.

Notes: One of the only conifers to drop its needles in the fall. They turn brilliant yellow before they fall.

Photographs: 374 photographs available, of which 10 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Tamarack (Larix laricina)

Tamarack has bunches of many fine needles.

Tamarack (Larix laricina)

Its fine needles make for an overall soft appearance, almost filmy.

Tamarack (Larix laricina)

Close-up view of the needles. Note how they grow in tufts of up to 20 needles.

Tamarack (Larix laricina)

Tamarack (along with European Larch (Larix decidua)) is unique in that it sheds its needles every fall. Just like deciduous trees, its leaves (needles) turn bright yellow before they drop. These are needles that have turned yellow and have been coated with an early snowfall.

Tamarack (Larix laricina)

Tamarack usually sheds its needles later than other trees and shrubs that shed their leaves. This means that it often snows while it is still clothed in brilliant yellow needles, making for a spectacular late-autumn sight!

Tamarack (Larix laricina)

A grove of Tamarack in winter.

Tamarack (Larix laricina)

A Tamarack in the winter, showing its overall shape and form.

Tamarack (Larix laricina)

Tamarack twig, after its needles have fallen. The needles grow from the bumps along the twig. Note that the bumps are smaller than those of European Larch (Larix decidua).

Tamarack (Larix laricina)

Tamarack tree trunk, showing typical bark. It is in small pieces that do not easily peel off. Note that it is not in plates like the similar European Larch.

Tamarack (Larix laricina)

Tamarack cones. They often persist into the winter. They are smaller than European Larch cones.


Range map for Tamarack (Larix laricina)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)