Female Larch Bloom

One of the high points of early spring is the emergence of exquisitely colored female (seed-bearing) cones on larch (Larix occidentalis) trees. When we conjure an image of a conifer cone, we tend to think in shades of brown. But, when most conifers break bud in the spring, the young female cones dazzle; everything from deep purple to brilliant pink to crimson is on display.
The female flowers (or cones) of larches are erect, small, 1–9 cm (1⁄2–3+1⁄2 in) long, green or purple, brown in ripening and lignify (called now strobilus) 5–8 months after pollination; in about half the species the bract scales are long and visible, and in the others, short and hidden between the seed scales. Those native to northern regions have small cones (1–3 cm or 1⁄2–1 in) with short bracts

Technical Details

Composite: No
EF 100mm macro, MR-14EX flash; f/22 @ 1/60 sec, ISO 100


What a great find. Tamarack is my second favorite tree. I really need to work with them more than I have. Trouble is they are where the bugs are. Oy. Nature. Lots of terrific detail here and I like how well you’ve isolated the subject. Sweet.

Thank you, Ms Smith. Fortunately that tree lives in my yard.

Bob, I’m not familiar with this tree, so I appreciate you sharing the image. Very interesting. Glad you have it right there in your yard.

Thank you, Ms Freeman. There are a couple of species—Western and Eastern—in the northern parts of the USA, and they are known by different common names in different locales—Larch or Tamarack.

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