Tree of the Month: Tamarack

Scientific name: Larix laricina

The Tamarack is a native tree that grows in every province and territory of Canada. Unlike most coniferous (cone bearing) species which drop their needles throughout the year, Tamarack has soft foliage that turns a brilliant yellow in the fall and drops completely off before the winter. Another common name for the Tamarack is Larch.

Aboriginal people used the slender roots to sew together strips of birch bark for their canoes. Roots bent at right angles served the colonists when building the framework of small ships.

Its needle-like leaves are bluish-green, 2-5 centimetres long and grow in cute-looking clusters on short shoots. The bark of young trees is smooth and gray and becomes reddish brown and scaly. New bark is a lovely looking red or purple colour. It grows small light brown oval seed cones that begin to open in August.

Want to plant one?

Tamarack grows well on moist, well-drained soils as it needs water constantly. The best location is a sunny area. It is beautiful in the back yard as it casts a light shade and may be underplanted with acid-loving wildflowers and shrubs such as Nodding Onion. Plant one this year and watch it attract butterflies and brighten up your back yard all Fall!