Larix lyallii Parl.
Pinaceae (Pine Family)
USDA Symbol: LALY
Subalpine Larch is seldom seen because of its isolated timberline location in high mountains. David Lyall (1817-95), a Scottish surgeon and naturalist, discovered this species in 1858. For most of the year the branches are bare, except for the blackened dead cones.
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Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Cone
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May
DistributionUSA: ID , MT , WA
Canada: AB , BC
Native Distribution: SE. British Columbia and SW. Alberta south to W. Montana and west to NE. Washington; at 4000-8000' (1219-2438 m).
Native Habitat: At timberline on rocky soils in Engelmann Spruce-Subalpine Fir forest; locally in pure stands.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Conditions Comments: A valuable tree for watershed protection, avalanche control, wildlife habitat and mountain scenery (Farrar)
A deciduous conifer.This species often grows at higher elevations and on cooler exposures than other trees.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Mountain goats, bighorn sheep, hoary marmots, pikas, mule deer, elk (wapiti), black and grizzly bears, red squirrels, and snowshoe hares are among the mammals that feed in alpine larch stands. Blue grouse apparently feed heavily on alpine larch needles.
Warning: This plant's tiny stinging hairs can cause a painful skin irritation.
Find Seed or Plants
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Larix lyallii in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Larix lyallii in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Larix lyallii
MetadataRecord Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff