Alpine larch

Larix Lyallii
Alpine larch Alpine larch

A small, often dwarfed or contorted tree that grows to 15 metres tall.

Alpine larch leaves and cones

Needles are soft bluish-green and turn golden in the fall. They are four-sided and grow in clusters of 30 to 40 on short, woody projections which remain on the twigs after the needles fall. The alpine larch has woolly hair on its buds and twigs.

The small, egg-shaped seed cones are reddish-yellow to purple when young. Between each scale of the cone there are prominent bracts. Pollen cones are yellow.

Alpine larch bark Bark
The bark is thin, deeply grooved, and flakes into reddish- to purplish-brown scales.

Where to find alpine larch
It is found in the subalpine area of the Rocky Mountains, the Purcell and southern Selkirk ranges, as well as in Manning Park and adjacent areas in the Cascade ranges.

Alpine larch grows in very cold, snowy areas, often on rocky, gravelly soils. It grows with whitebark pine and subalpine fir. Alpine larch can also form pure groups of trees which provide a spectacular show of autumn colours.

A soup can be made from the young twigs for a survival food.Caution

Where to find alpine larch
Alpine larch Notes
Alpine larch (Larix lyallii) was named for David Lyall, a Scottish surgeon and naturalist, who accompanied several early expeditions and surveys. The alpine larch's spring and autumn colours are eye-catching.

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