Water soluble polysaccharides from Norway spruce, Scots pine, and Siberian larch were compared. For all species the total amount of polysaccharides isolated from the heartwood was higher than that from the sapwood. The heartwood polysaccharides had a high content of galactose and arabinose units, and some glucuronic acid units, suggesting the presence of acidic arabinogalactans. The total amounts of recovered water-soluble arabinogalactans were 1.9 mg/g for spruce heartwood, 5.3 mg/g for pine heartwood, and as much as 106 mg/g for larch heartwood. The other water-soluble polysaccharides were mainly glucomannans. The average ratio of Gal:Ara:GlcA in the water-soluble arabinogalactans of spruce heartwood was about 4.3:1:1, pine heartwood about 4.5:1:0.2, and larch heartwood about 6.7:1:0.1. The corresponding molar ratios then being about 3.6:1:0.8 for spruce, 3.8:1:0.2 for pine, and 5.6:1:0.08 for larch. Thus, the content of glucuronic acid units was especially high in the spruce heartwood arabinogalactans. The content of arabinose was slightly higher in spruce and pine than in larch heartwood arabinogalactans.