Larix laricina (Du Roi) K. Koch

American larch

New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

Where native and non-native distributions co-occur in a county, only the native distribution is shown.

North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

American larch (also known as tamarack) is the only New England conifer to drop its needles in the autumn and grow new ones in the spring. This hardy tree ranges far north into the tundra regions of Canada. Native Americans of northern New England and Canada used the roots of tamarack for stitching together birch-bark canoes, as the terpenes in tamarack wood make it very durable when wet.

Habitat

Bogs, fens (calcium-rich wetlands)

Characteristics

Habitat
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Growth form
the plant is a tree
Leaf form
the leaves are needle-like
Leaf cross-section
the needle-like leaves are flattened (can't be rolled between the fingers)
Leaf arrangement
the needle-like leaves are in clusters or held on short shoots
Seed cone form
the seed cone is longer than wide, with woody scales attached at the base
Leaf clustering
the needle-like leaves are densely clustered on short shoots
Seed cone shape
  • the seed cone is globose (spherical)
  • the seed cone is ovoid (egg-shaped)
Leaves overlapping
the needle-like leaves are separate and do not hide the twig surface
Show All Characteristics
  • Buds or leaf scars
    Winter bud shape
    the winter buds are globose (spherical, globe-shaped)
  • Fruits or seeds
    Seed cone base
    NA
    Seed cone bracts
    the bracts protrude beyond the seed cone scales
    Seed cone form
    the seed cone is longer than wide, with woody scales attached at the base
    Seed cone scales
    NA
    Seed cone shape
    • the seed cone is globose (spherical)
    • the seed cone is ovoid (egg-shaped)
    Seed cone symmetry
    the seed cone is symmetrical
    Seed cone umbo position
    there is no raised portion on the seed cone scale
    Seed cone umbo spine
    NA
    Seed wings
    the seeds have wing-like projections
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is a tree
  • Leaves
    Leaf arrangement
    the needle-like leaves are in clusters or held on short shoots
    Leaf base
    NA
    Leaf clustering
    the needle-like leaves are densely clustered on short shoots
    Leaf cross-section
    the needle-like leaves are flattened (can't be rolled between the fingers)
    Leaf duration
    the needle-like leaves fall off in winter
    Leaf form
    the leaves are needle-like
    Leaf glands
    there are no glands on the underside of the needle-like leaves
    Leaf stalks
    the needle-like leaves do not have a leaf stalk
    Leaf types
    there is only one type of needle-like leaf on the twig
    Leaves overlapping
    the needle-like leaves are separate and do not hide the twig surface
  • Place
    Habitat
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • bogs
    • fens (calcium-rich wetlands)
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Bark resin blisters
    there are no resin blisters on the bark
    Leaves on shoots
    there are needle-like leaves growing in tight clusters on a short, knob-like shoot
    Twig bloom
    there is no bloom on the twig
    Twig hair type
    the twigs have few or no hairs on them
    Twig hairs
    the twig does not have hairs

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in wetlands, but occasionally in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACW)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
Rhode Island
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), state threatened (code: ST)

Native to North America?

Yes

Family

Pinaceae

Genus

Larix

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

2.  Larix laricina (Du Roi) K. Koch N

American larch. CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Hydric, organic soils, becoming occasional in wet-mesic or even mesic soils in the northern part of New England.