The western larch is unusual in that it is a deciduous coniferous tree that loses its needles in the winter.
Large tree, up to 55 (rarely 70-80) m tall; bark thick, furrowed into large plates, scales cinnamon colored; young twigs glabrous to hairy, not woolly-hairy.
Needles deciduous; pale green (yellow in the autumn); stiff; 15-30 per spur; 25-45 mm long; broadly triangular in cross-section.
Seed cones 25-30 (35) mm long, yellowish-brown; pollen cones yellow, about 10 mm long.
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.
Illustration Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
Present from Summer to Fall
Source: The USDA
||Value / Class
Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
of field plots
species was recorded in:
BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in
|AT(2), ESSF(166), ICH(1026), IDF(379), MS(283), PP(16)|
Source: Klinkenberg 2013
1. Seed cones about 1-2 cm long; bracts shorter than scales; needles 1-2.5 cm long, triangular in cross-section.....................Larix laricina
1. Seed cones usually over 2.5 cm long, bracts longer than scales; needles 3-4 cm long.
2. Needles 4-angled in cross-section; young twigs strongly woolly-hairy; cones usually over 3.5 cm long; trees usually at or near timberline..........................Larix lyalli
2. Needles flattened or triangulur in cross-section; young twigs glabrous to somewhat hairy; cones rarely as much as 3.5 cm long; trees of montane forests...................Larix occidentalis
Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia.