5 responses to “Larix laricina”

  1. Tiiu Mayer

    I recall a boatbuilder in the Hudson Valley telling me they used larch ‘knees’ for rudders.

  2. susan

    The naiveté of the neophyte….Years ago I knew a family who moved into the Okanogan Highlands—from the US Midwest. They were not familiar with the local natural environment, which flora includes forests of western larch or tamarack (larix occidentalis). Their first late autumn in the area, they went out to cut firewood. In those days, one could cut “snags,” standing dead trees. They saw so many “snags”! They were told tamarack made the best firewood of all the local trees. They cut up cords of tamarack. It was pretty “green,” though, and needed to dry out before they could burn it. (Clue!) Then Nick made an axe handle out of a long chunk, to replace the one that he had broken. He spent quite a bit of time carving and smoothing it out just right to fit the axe head and his long reach. Then, the first (and only) time he used it to split wood, the handle itself split into long segments. There was a reason locals called tamarack “secondary cedar.” It splits like cedar. Some even made shakes out of it, since it was more available and cheaper than real cedar shakes, not considering the lack of cedar’s rot-resistance.

  3. Megan

    My favorite conifer. My grandparents had a house in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, and I loved seeing the beautiful yellow fall color of the tamarack trees in the area.

  4. Susanne

    I grew up in Germany, and larch was my favorite tree! yes, those soft needles and that truly nice shade of green in spring. Of course they won’t grow in Missouri , which is sad.
    And I never knew they were also called tamarack! I had read that name before, but never associated it with larch!
    So thank you for reminding me and a new word learned 🙂

  5. ed hessler

    I’m glad this post has been posted for a while. I look at it every day. It takes a while to see a tamarack.

    In a book (A Sand County Almanac) that I refer to throughout the year, Aldo Leopold’s essay, Smoky Gold, begins with an observation on hunting.

    “There are two kinds of hunting: ordinary hunting, and ruffed-grouse hunting. There are two places to hunt grouse: ordinary places, and Adams County (WI). There are two times to hunt in Adams: ordinary times, and when the tamaracks are smoky gold. This is written for those luckless ones who have never stood, gun empty and mouth agape, to watch the golden needles come sifting down, while the feathery rocket that knocked them off sails unscathed into the jack pines. The tamaracks change from green to yellow when the first frosts have brought woodcock, fox sparrows, and juncos out of the north. Troops of robins are stripping the last white berries from the dogwood thickets,leaving the empty stems as a pink haze against the hill. The creek side alders have shed their leaves, exposing here & there an eyeful of holly. Brambles are aglow, lighting your footsteps grouseward.”

    This tree is a glory no matter the season.

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