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Trees of Wisconsin

Larix laricina (Du Roi) K.Koch
Family: Pinaceae
Summer Tree Fall Tree New Leaves leaves Spur Branch
tree, summer tree, fall new leaves leaves spur branch with leaves
Single Leaves Winter Spur Branches Bark Cone  
single leaves on young stems spur branches in winter bark cone  

Needles of Larix laricina on mature trees are attached to the twigs in tight spirals around short spur branches (but perhaps appearing to beginners as a fascicle, as suggested in the key). The spur branches are so distinctive that Larix can be easily identified even when all the needles have fallen. Needles may be attached singly on the fastest growing twigs, or on seedlings, but the great majority of Larix needles will be present on the conspicuous spur branches.

Larix laricina is the only gymnosperm species in Wisconsin that is deciduous. Each fall all the needles turn a distinctive bronze color in October and fall off. Each spring new bright green leaves develop. Therefore it is a gymnosperm and a conifer, but it cannot be said to be an "evergreen".

Larix laricina is a species found primarily in older bogs and in our wetter swamps in Wisconsin, often with black spruce (Picea mariana) and the common ericad bog shrubs Chamaedaphne calyculata and Ledum groenlandicum. Farther north (Canada) it does very well in more upland habitats and if tended as a seedling it can grow well in upland settings here as well.

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