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Larix occidentalis Nutt.
Western larch, Western tamarack
USDA Symbol: LAOC
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Western larch is a large tree to 200 ft. tall. At maturity the trunk is mostly bare with scaly, cinnamon-colored bark. The deciduous needles are pale green, coloring to deep golden in the fall. Very large deciduous tree with narrow, conical crown of horizontal branches. Cone-covered branches are an attractive winter feature.
Western Larch often follows or survives fires, later being replaced by other conifers. The natural sugar, or galactan, in the gum and wood resembles a slightly bitter honey and can be made into medicine and baking powder. Grouse eat the buds and leaves. The wood is used for construction, paneling, flooring, utility poles, plywood, and pulpwood.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf Retention: Deciduous Leaf Complexity: Simple Breeding System:
, Monoecious Fruit Type:
Yellow-Green Autumn Foliage:
yesFruit: Size Class:
More than 100 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
ID , MT , OR , UT , WA , WY Canada: BC Native Distribution:
E. of the Cascades from s. B.C. to Deschutes Co., OR, e. to n.w. MT, n. ID & n.e. OR Native Habitat:
Lower, eastside, mt. slopes; valleys; swampy areas USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Wet soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available
Propagate by seed. Seed Collection:
A ripe cone is made up of woody scales, each of which bears two seeds at the base. Seeds are wind dispersed, so many cones still on the tree
may be empty. The seed is winged and triangular in shape. Collect in fall. Seed Treatment:
Pretreatment is not usually necessary. If seeded in spring, a cool-moist stratification for 20-60 days is often used. Commercially Avail:
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Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff