Tamarack Hacmatack Larch Juniper
=Habitat and Range.=--Low lands, shaded hillsides, borders of ponds; in
New England preferring cold swamps; sometimes far up mountain slopes.
Labrador, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia, west to the Rocky
mountains; from the Rockies through British Columbia, northward
along the Yukon and Mackenzie systems, to the limit of tree growth
beyond the Arctic circle.
Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont,--abundant, filling swamps acres in
extent, alone or associated with other trees, mostly black spruce;
growing depressed and scattered on Katahdin at an altitude of 4000 feet;
Massachusetts,--rather common, at least northward; Rhode Island,--not
reported; Connecticut,--occasional in the northern half of the state;
reported as far south as Danbury (Fairfield county).
South along the mountains to New Jersey and Pennsylvania; west to
=Habit.=--The only New England conifer that drops its leaves in the
fall; a tree 30-70 feet high, reduced at great elevations to a height of
1-2 feet, or to a shrub; trunk 1-3 feet in diameter, straight, slender;
branches very irregular or in indistinct whorls, for the most part
nearly horizontal; often ending in long spire-like shoots; branchlets
numerous, head conical, symmetrical while the tree is young, especially
when growing in open swamps; when old extremely variable, occasionally
with contorted or drooping limbs; foliage pale green, turning to a dull
yellow in autumn.
=Bark.=--Bark of trunk reddish or grayish brown, separating at the
surface into small roundish scales in old trees, in young trees smooth;
season's shoots gray or light brown in autumn.
=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds small, globular, reddish.
Leaves simple, scattered along the season's shoots, clustered on the
short, thick dwarf branches, about an inch long, pale green,
needle-shaped; apex obtuse; sessile.
=Inflorescence.=--March to April. Flowers lateral, solitary, erect; the
sterile from leafless, the fertile from leafy dwarf branches; sterile
roundish, sessile; anthers yellow: fertile oblong, short-stalked; bracts
crimson or red.
=Fruit.=--Cones upon dwarf branches, erect or inclining upwards, ovoid
to cylindrical, 1/2-3/4 of an inch long, purplish or reddish brown while
growing, light brown at maturity, persistent for at least a year; scales
thin, obtuse to truncate; edge entire, minutely toothed or erose; seeds
=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy in New England; grows in any good soil,
preferring moist locations; the formal outline of the young trees
becomes broken, irregular, and picturesque with age, making the mature
tree much more attractive than the European species common to
cultivation. Rarely for sale in nurseries, but obtainable from
collectors. To be successfully transplanted, it must be handled when
dormant. Propagated from seed.
=Note.=--The European species, with which the mature plant is often
confused, has somewhat longer leaves and larger cones; a form
common in cultivation has long, pendulous branches.
1. Branch with sterile and fertile flowers.
2. Sterile flowers.
3. Different views of stamens.
4. Ovuliferous scale with ovules.
5. Fruiting branch.
6. Open cone.
7. Cone-scale with seeds.
9. Cross-section of leaf.