21 November 2014
Tamarack, Close - Missoula, Montana
Comparing tamarack branches to those of an adjacent green conifer, I noticed the tamarack's distinct needle bunches. On a sturdy and fortunate tree, annual shedding and regrowth may cycle for hundreds of years. On the Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks site, retired Livingston biology teacher Lori Micken chronicles ages of some of these stately trees: "Years ago I felled a larch that had died in a fire that raged through the Swan Valley some time in the early 1900s. I counted 350 rings, putting the tree’s origins back to the time of the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia. The fire-scarred behemoths still living in the Swan Valley must now be nearly 450 years old. Ancient tamaracks estimated at more than 900 years old have been reported in some parts of Washington."