Western larch


Come early November, I am often wont to offer an encomium to the western larch. Sometimes the tree is shown covering the mountainside, this time only a portion of an individual appears.

The western larch grows only on the mountain slopes and a few valleys of southeastern British Columbia, plus portions of the adjacent United States. The tree is a deciduous conifer, so autumn causes yellowish-orange needles to splash the slopes with a stunning preface to the greys, blues, and whites of winter.


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3 Responses to Western larch

  1. Trevor Goward says:

    We have a western larch growing in our meadow here in the Clearwater Valley – a gift from a friend many years ago. Curiously, its needles are still more green than gold – not nearly as far along as the tree in your photo, hundreds of km farther south. Go figure.

  2. Stephen Wells says:

    We always called them tamaracks, but I looked it up and it’s the same tree! https://flatheadbeacon.com/2007/11/05/is-it-larch-or-tamarack/

    Either way, their golden splashes on the mountainsides are just gorgeous!

  3. Alistair says:

    Stephen, actually, as your reference notes, the tamarack (Larix laricina) and the western larch (Larix occidentalis) are closely related by being in the same genus. However, they are different species and have quite different geographic ranges. Saying that these two trees are the same tree is equivalent to saying that the lynx (Lynx canadensis) and the bobcat (Lynx rufus) are the same feline. However, I admit that I used to refer to our western larch a tamarack, until I was corrected by both biologists and foresters.

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