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Tamarack

Larix laricina

Photo: Nancy Turner

Tamarack

APPEARANCE

The tamarack is a short deciduous tree that usually only grows as high as 15 meters and has three-sided needles in clusters of 12 to 20. The bark is thin and scaly and is reddish -brown in colour. The branches of the tree are long and slender and the cones are small and egg-shaped, changing colour from red to brown with age.

RANGE & HABITAT

This species can be found growing east of the Rocky Mountains in northeastern B.C. with some stands in the central B.C. area around the Nechako Valley. They are able to live in soils that have poor drainage so their natural habitat is bogs and swamps and lower mountain slopes.

LIFE CYCLE

The tamarack is part of a unique species of trees that shed their needles in the fall after turning a bright yellow colour.

ANIMAL USES

Tamaracks can provide a place for small animal and bird nesting and protection.

TRADITIONAL FIRST NATIONS USES

The pitch of the tree was used for cosmetics and hair products after mixing it with grease, and the roots of the tamarack were useful in sewing bark onto canoes. The bark was used as a laxative, for skin ailments, gargled with for sore throats in the form of a tea. The spring shoots can be boiled and eaten.

MODERN USES

The tamarack was once used by ship-builders in joining the ribs of a boat to the deck timbers, and it is also used for many other things like pulp, fuel and making posts.

STATUS

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

MORE INFORMATION

www.bcadventure.com

Photo: Superior National Forests