Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or choose a plant family:

Larix lyallii

Larix lyallii Parl.

Subalpine Larch

Pinaceae (Pine Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Deciduous tree with straight trunk, short branches, and irregular, spreading crown.

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.


From the Image Gallery

No images of this plant

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Cone
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May


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 Conditions

Water 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.


Use 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.
Attracts: Birds

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Larix lyallii in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Larix lyallii in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Larix lyallii


Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back