The Mystery of the Needle-Dropping Conifer
It’s amazing how many new things you discover when you start paying attention.
In my nearby conservation area, I found a magnificent tree. It was quite striking, and I was absolutely baffled. It was spring, but it looked fluffy, with new soft needles in tiny little tufts. Was it a confier? Was it deciduous? At the same time, it drooped to the ground, almost like a weeping willow. In all my years visiting forests and in all my biology training, I had somehow never taken note of this particular species. Doesn’t it look like it belongs in a haunted forest?
After very little research, I discovered it was a Tamarack, or Eastern Larch tree.
Tamarack or Eastern Larch:
This is actually a native member of the pine family, but it loses its needles in the fall! In fact, they turn bright yellow before falling off, adding to our spectacular Ontario autumn displays. From the pictures I’ve been looking at, it seems they don’t all “weep” like this one. But, for this particular tree, the bare branches in winter look quite spooky.
I have seen it numerous times since then. Funny how that happens!
Nice to make your acquaintance, my new tree friend!