western larch
Larix occidentalis

Western larch is a fast growing, long lived, valuable timber species. Western larch is the largest of the world's larches. Like all species in the Larix genus, it is a deciduous conifer.

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Light Fall Color Water
Growth   Size

Timber Value

      Western larch is used for lumber, fine veneer, interior and exterior finishing, utility poles, railroad ties, mine timbers, fuelwood, pulpwood, and chemical extracts.


Wildlife Value
      Mice and squirrels eat the seeds. Black bears strip the bark and feed on the sap in spring. Needles are a major food source for several species of grouse.
          Attracts: mice, squirrels, cavity nesting birds, grouse, deer, elk, moose, black bears

Regeneration methods
      Shelterwood, seed-tree, and clearcut systems allow for good western larch regeneration. Western larch is the most shade intolerant conifer of the northern Rockies.

Important Problems Early Detection tips
spruce budworm die back of the terminal leader

Fun facts
Western larch is the largest member of its genus. Lumber is prized for general construction, millwork, and poles, pilings and posts. Thick basal bark helps it resist ground fires and it is one of first species within its range to re-colonize following a fire. Very intolerant of shade and requires high moisture. Western larch is the principal domestic source of arabinogalactan, a water soluble gum used in the processing of food, pharmaceuticals, paint, ink, and other industries.
Larix: Latin name / occidentalis: western - Latin "occidere" (to set, as the sun)
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2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.

questions, comments, and criticisms: email John.Peterson@vt.edu