I have a question about identifying a tree I saw when I went for a walk in Edward’s Gardens last week. I called the park and they suggested I email you for help identifying it. I entered the park from Post Road, next to the Children’s Teaching Garden. On the other side of the path was an unusual tree I have never seen before – it was conical in shape like a confer but was obviously deciduous, and had a reddish bark similar to cedar. It also had small (around 1 inch) seed cones and another long, thin reproductive part.
Thank you for your help!
This an interesting question, I think what you may have been looking at was some kind of larch. Larch trees are deciduous, turn yellow in the fall and lose their leaves/needles. They produce small cones like other evergreens. There are many different varieties, including our native larch: Larix laricina (also known as Tamarack). You will find them growing naturally here in Ontario, near water such as lakes and bogs.
It is also possibly the more rare Dawn Redwood, (Metasequoia glyptostroboides):
which has a few representatives in Toronto. It is a very large tree at maturity, suitable specimens for parks and botanic gardens.
A final possibility is the Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum), not very common but similar in appearance and stature to the Dawn Redwood:
Bald Cypress are endemic to Southern swamps and are distinguishable by their knobby knee like roots which protrude above the water where they are growing.