Larix lyallii
(Tamarack)
[Parl.]

Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinatae
Family: Pinaceae
Family Description: Pine
Key Characteristics:
Also known as Lyall Larch or Alpine Tamarak.
leaves
cones
seeds
  • as on all larches, spirally arranged on tips of spurs;
  • 30-40 per spur, rigid, light bluish-green, 2-4 cm long, four angled in cross section containing tiny resin ducts visible under 25 power magnification.
  • staminate cones about 1.5 cm long, yellowish;
  • ovulate cones 3 ½ to 4 ½ cm long with erose scales which are tomentose on lower surface;
  • purple to green-ish red bracts are longer than the scales, thus protrude giving an appearance much like those of Douglas Fir.
  • 3 mm long seeds are attached to 6 mm long wings.

General Description:
A small deciduous tree often dwarfed, unsymmetrical, usually 15-20 m tall occasionally taller and 5-6 (-10) dm in diameter; bark of the trunk slightly furrowed, reddish-brown; young branches white-villous for about 2 seasons; leaves 3-4 cm long; cones ellipsoid, 3-5 cm long, tomentose; scales obovate, erose; bracts much longer, 3 -lobed; seeds about 3 mm long. High mts. near timber line. Alberta to B. C across N. Idaho to Washington. and Oregon.

Distribution:
Cascade Mountains of southern British Columbia to the Wenatchee Mountains Washington east to Alberta northern Idaho and Western Montana.

Habitat:
Subalpine to alpine areas where the snow is last to leave.

Other:
Because of where it is found and its misshapen habit, this species is of little or no economic value except for camping firewood. They are not known to be of much value to wildlife.

Important State References:
No information available at this time
Photos & information written by Dr. Karl E. Holte,© 2002