western larch Pinaceae Larix
occidentalis Nutt. symbol: LAOC
Leaf: Deciduous, yellow-green in spring turning golden yellow in fall; borne singly on current year's twigs, but clustered on spur shoots on older twigs; 1 to 1 3/4 inches long, linear, and flattened to triangular in cross-section.
Flower: Species is monoecious; male cones are round to oblong and yellow to yellow-green in color; female cones are small, erect, and bright red when young.
Fruit: Small (1 to 1 1/2 inches long), egg-shaped cones with thin, woody scales with finely toothed apexes. Bracts have spines that are longer than the scales (similar to Douglas-fir, but smaller).
Twig: Twigs are yellowish brown and covered by short, thick spur shoots; may be finely hairy the first year.
Bark: Young bark is thin, scaly, and gray-brown, later becoming 3 to 6 inches thick with deep furrows and flattened ridges, yellow to reddish brown.
Form: A large deciduous conifer growing 100 to 180 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet in diameter, very straight bole topped with a lacy, open crown.
Looks like: Dunkeld larch - subalpine larch - tamarack
Additional Range Information: Larix occidentalis is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting western larch.
More Information: Fall Color - Wood - Landowner Factsheet
External Links: USDAFS Silvics of North America - USDAFS FEIS Silvics - USDA Plants Database - USDAFS Forest Products Lab
All material © 2018 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson; Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654