Larch (Larix laricina)

Larch (Larix laricina)
Also known as: tamarack, hackmatack


Bloom time: April – May

Additional photos:

General: Medium-sized coniferous tree; grows up to 20 m tall, with scaly bark. In autumn, the needles turn yellow and fall from the tree.

Leaves & Twigs:

  • The long, slender branches have small woody stumps that produce the needle bundles.
  • Needles, 1-2.5 cm long, emerge as soft green tufts during spring growth. Each tuft can have 10-20 needles.

Flowers & Fruits:

  • Male and female cones can appear on the same branches, but observe male cones only for PlantWatch.
  • Male cones: small, less noticeable mounds of yellow-brown pollen sacs that wither and fall after shedding pollen.
  • Female cones: pinkish-purple mini-cones about 1 cm long.

Habitat: Grows in moist to wet areas.

PlantWatch Pointers: Tag a typical tree for observation.

To Observe:

  • First bloom: when the first pollen is being shed by the male cones on the observed tree (3 places).
  • Mid bloom: when 50% of the male cones are abundantly shedding pollen.
  • Leafing: when the tufts of needles are lengthening considerably and starting to spread open at the tip (3 places).

Distribution Map:

Distribution Map

This species is monitored in:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

Larch is the only conifer that sheds all of its needles annually.