This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The larch

Not all conifers make good Christmas trees. Some lose their needles in the winter and several of those can grow in Rensselaer. I found one of them, the tamarack, also know as the larch, at the north end of Sparling Avenue.
This tree was full of tiny cones, and those cones help identify it. In fact, with conifers, the cones are often the easiest way to identify trees. The conifers that lose their needles in winter may be easier to identify in winter than in the summer because the loss of needles eliminates most of the other conifers.
After the big ice storm of December, I noticed another tamarak, this one on Merritt Street on the north edge of town. The little cones open up very quickly when you bring them inside.
This tree on Merritt is next to a couple of white pines, so it should be easy to spot.
There is a big larch on Milroy, but it is an imported larch, not the native American larch. I initially thought it was a tamarack, but the December weather brought down some of its branches, and I was able to see the cones. They are much bigger than those of the native tree, as the picture below shows. European and Japanese larch trees are commonly planted in the U.S. I am not sure which this tree is.
The larch.

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