The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Tamarack Tree

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The Tamarack tree, for which the Tamarack arts center at Beckley, WV takes its name, is a "deciduous conifer" indigenous to North America's colder climates. The Tamarack grows naturally in only one place in West Virginia.

The Tamarack resembles other evergreens, but is a "deciduous conifer," shedding its needles in autumn and is better suited to swamps, bogs, and uplands. Its flaky, dark, reddish-gray bark resembles black spruce, though the Tamarack is neither a spruce nor pine nor hemlock. Its pale-green needles are softer than the needles of most conifers, about an inch long, and grow in tufts along the twig. Tamarack cones are rounded less than an inch long.

The Tamarack reaches its southern natural extent in northern West Virginia -- at Cranesville Swamp, in Preston County, near Terra Alta, WV. However, the Tamarack is also frequently planted as an ornamental tree in other more-southerly regions of West Virginia.

The Latin name for Tamarack is "Larix laricina." Other common names include: eastern larch, American larch, red larch, black larch, takmahak, and hackmatack.

See also: Tamarack