Larix lyallii Parl.
subalpine larch (alpine larch)
Pinaceae (Pine family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Virginia Skilton     (Photo ID #9912)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Larix lyallii
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend


The sub-alpine larch is unusual in that it is a deciduous coniferous tree that loses its needles in the winter.

Species Information

Small tree, seldom symmetric, 10-15 (up to 25) m tall; bark thin but deeply furrowed and flaking, reddish-brown to purplish-brown scales; young twigs white or yellowish tomentose.
Needles deciduous; pale blue-green (yellow in the autumn); rigid; in bundles of 30-40 per spur; 4-angled; 25-35 (40) mm long.
Seed cones elongate, 35-45 mm long, 1.5-2 times longer than wide; pollen cones yellow, about 15 mm long.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA


Ecological Framework for Larix lyallii

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
2206 1163 2649
Slope Gradient (%)
34 0 140

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

114 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 0 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

AT(51), ESSF(250), ICH(1), IMA(5)

Habitat and Range

Mesic to dry rocky or gravelly slopes in the subalpine to alpine zones; frequent in SC and SE BC; E to SW AB, and S to WA, N ID and W MT.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia