Friday, October 30, 2009


One of the surest signs that winter is just around the corner is when the tamaracks turn golden. At the very least it is my cue to get out on the trail if I want to hike without snowshoes.

The tamarack, or Eastern Larch, is one of my favorite trees. It grows in or near bogs and wetlands, and prefers acidic soils, although it will grow in drier, sandy soils. It is easily found within the Brighton Recreation Area.

It is a tall and slender tree, with a beautiful, conical shape. In summer after a light rain or drizzle these trees look like they've been dipped in glitter as water clings to every tiny needle.

Their delicately fine needles are less than an inch long, and the tiny cones only 1/2" long.

I can't get enough of the gorgeous color this tree turns in fall. One of only a few conifers that loses its needles in winter, it is common in northern climates, able to withstand temperatures as low as -65C. Here in southeast Michigan we are near the southern edge of its range.

Poison sumac berries with tamarack in the background.

Chickadee with tamarack.

Despite the rather nasty weather we're having right now I hope to get out on the trail a few more times before the tamaracks lose their needles. Once bare, I will wait patiently for the first snows of winter.

No comments:

Post a Comment