Eastern Larch

Mature Tamarack trees in fall color.

Reference: Larix Laricina (Tamarack): Minnesota Wildflowers. http://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/tree/tamarack. Accessed 18 Aug. 2018.

Latin (group) name: Larix
Latin (specific) name: Larix Laricina (DuRoi) K. Koch
Average max height: 40' to 70'
Average diameter: 12' to 20'
Associated state: none
Category: American Woods
The Softwoods - Conifers

The Tree

Tamarack or Eastern Larch is one of the four softwoods species (Larches and Baldcypress) that shed their needles each fall. It is a straight slender tree 40 to 70 feet tall and 12 to 20 inches in diameter. It generally grows in swampy locations. The limbs begin almost at ground level, are almost horizontal, thin and curve upward slightly. The needles are feathery in appearance, a bright green in color, only about an inch long and grow in clusters along the small branches. These needles turn a yellowish or rust color in the autumn and fall off. The name “Ka-neh-tens,” meaning “the leaves fall” was given this tree by the Iroquois Indians Photograph of diorama depicting Iroquois family planting beans, corn, and squash. For educational purposes only.

Reference: "File:Growingfieldspanlg.jpeg." Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. 2 Feb 2017, 09:49 UTC. 20 Aug 2018, 16:08 . The Iroquois (/ˈɪrəkwɔɪ/ or /ˈɪrəkwɑː/) or Haudenosaunee (/ˈhoʊdənoʊˈʃoʊni/)1 (People of the Longhouse) are a historically powerful northeast Native American confederacy. They were known during the colonial years to the French as the Iroquois League, and later as the Iroquois Confederacy, and to the English as the Five Nations, comprising the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca. After 1722, they accepted the Tuscarora people from the Southeast into their confederacy, and became known as the Six Nations.. The small cones are a bright chestnut brown and form in clusters close to the small branchlets. At first the cone scales are opened slightly in the spring; after pollination they close into a compact ball until the seed ripens. The bark of the mature trees is a dark reddish brown, with shallow furrows and thin scales. The tree is especially susceptible to attack by the larch saw-fly.

eastern larch pine cones
Eastern Larch Pine Cones
eastern larch tree bark
Eastern Larch Tree Bark

Common Names in Use

  • Tamarack (Me., N.H., Vt., Mass., R.I., N.J., N,Y,. Pa,. Ind,. Ill., Wis., Mich., Minn., Ohio, Ontario)
  • American Larch (Vt., Wis., nurserymen)
  • Black Larch (Minn.)
  • Epinette Rouge (Quebec)
  • Hacmack (lit)
  • Hackmatack (Me., N.H., Mass,. R.I., Del., Ill., Minn., Ontario )
  • Juniper (Me., New Brunswick to Hudson Bay)
  • Ka-neh-tens-- "The leaves fall" (Indians, N.Y.)
  • Larch (Vt., Mass., R.I., Conn., N.Y., N.J., Pa., Del., Wis., Minn., Ohio, Ontario)
  • Red Larch (Misch.)

Growth Range

The Tamarack ranges from Newfoundland and Labrador, west to Mackenzie and Alaska, south to Pennsylvania, Maryland, Illinois, Minnesota, and Alberta. It is strictly an eastern
and northern species and should not be confused with Western Larch, sometimes called Western Tamarack.

The Wood

The wood is coarse in texture, the heartwood being a yellowish to russet brown but without a pronounced reddish tinge. The sapwood is narrow and a creamy white color. It resembles hard pine and is moderately heavy, stiff, brittle, hard and strong, slivery, generally straight-grained but occasionally spiral-grained. Close fibers make Tamarack wood difficult to penetrate with preservatives. It works well with tools and has an oily or greasy feel in handling.


Tamarack lumber is used for rough, general construction, railroad ties and ship timbers. Having a straight stem, Tamarack is used extensively for telegraph and telephone poles. It is now used also for paper pulp. The large roots and the lower portion of the stump are sometimes used to hew "ship knees” used in keels of wooden ships.


  • Shelley E. Schoonover (American Woods) 1951 (Watling & Co. ) Santa Monica, CA 

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Page last modified on Sunday July 24, 2022 17:04:56 PDT by admin.