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Tamarack Cones Maturing

6-9-17 larch cones 211Tamarack (Larix laricina), also commonly called Eastern or American Larch, grows and drops a new set of leaves every year, just like maples, birches, or other deciduous trees. Found in many bogs, it  is the only native deciduous conifer in the Northeast and is known for its green needles which turn a showy yellow in the fall before falling to the ground as winter approaches. Equally dramatic, however, are its seed cones. They are the smallest of any larch (1/2” to 1” long) and have only 12 to 25 scales. At a certain point (right now) in their spring growth they are bright maroon and resemble tiny roses. They eventually turn brown and open to release the seeds, four to six months after pollination.

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9 responses

  1. Dianne Rochford

    To begin my day with this GLORIOUS photo!! What a treat.


    :-), Dianne >

    June 9, 2017 at 8:20 am

  2. Now I have to visit my favorite tree and marvel at it’s “roses”! Thanks.

    June 9, 2017 at 8:29 am

  3. IOn the Canadian sub-Arctic (Ungava Peninsula) we found the tamarack cones in July to be just about the size – and appearance – of ripe plums.

    June 9, 2017 at 8:34 am

  4. Victoria Davis

    I’ve also heard this tree called hackmatack.

    June 9, 2017 at 8:56 am

  5. Susan Carr

    How beautiful!

    June 9, 2017 at 8:58 am

  6. Cindy Sprague


    Thank you for sharing this. I have not noticed these before, but will definitely go check it out for myself.

    June 9, 2017 at 10:13 am

  7. Peggy Timmerman

    Beautiful! Thank you for continuing to teach us about the amazing diversity of life on earth.

    June 9, 2017 at 11:35 am

  8. Mary Waugh

    So beautiful. Thank you Mary.

    June 10, 2017 at 6:00 pm

  9. Susan Sawyer

    So Mary, I believe you — that these are down-facing tamarack cones. But–yet–I’ve never seen such a thing. Even ripe, they face upward one every tree I’ve ever seen. Isn’t that your experience? Wonder what’s up with this tree…and thanks as ever for your presence here, which is a highlight of my day.

    June 11, 2017 at 5:01 pm

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