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|The American Tamarack tree (Larix laricina), or Larch, is a native cone-bearing tree that can be found across a wide portion of the northern United States. It is similar to most other coniferous trees in appearance, featuring needles and cones that are part of the tree’s reproductive process. One important difference, however, is that the American Tamarack tree is a deciduous conifer. In other words, the tree loses its needles each fall just as most broadleaf, deciduous trees do. The ethereal gold of autumn American Tamarack needles in a native wetland is a sight not to be missed, a favorite of hikers, hunters, and photographers alike.|
American Tamarack tree has been known by many local names over
the centuries amongst native peoples and outdoorsmen. Some of
these names include Eastern Larch, American Larch, Red Larch,
Black Larch, Takmahak, and Hackmatack. It is from one of those
historic names that the
Friends of Hackmatack drew the inspiration for our proposed project’s unique title: the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge.
|While American Tamarack trees are more common in the north
woods of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan, they do reach the
extreme southern limits of their distribution in the region of
the proposed Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge. Here the few
remaining stands of American Tamarack represent relics of a time
in the geologic past, thousands of years ago, when northeastern
Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin lay in the grip of a massive
continental glacier that was just beginning to recede northwards
towards the Arctic Circle.
These unusual trees are an excellent standard bearer for the wildlands of the bi-state region. It is but one of dozens of rare species and globally significant natural communities that can be found here.
|Learn about some of the other species that reside in the bi-state area! Click on these links to continue: Birds, Butterflies, Fish and Mussels, Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians, and Plants|
|Science of Hackmatack Home Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons|