Western Larch


Western Larch

Taxobox
name = Western Larch
status = LR/lc | status_system = IUCN2.3


image_caption = William O. Douglas Wilderness
image_width = 240px
regnum = Plantae
divisio = Pinophyta
classis = Pinopsida
ordo = Pinales
familia = Pinaceae
genus = "Larix"
species = "L. occidentalis"
binomial = "Larix occidentalis"
binomial_authority = Nutt.

Western Larch ("Larix occidentalis") is a species of larch native to the mountains of western North America, in Canada in southeastern British Columbia and southwestern Alberta, and in the United States in eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, northern Idaho and western Montana.

It is a large deciduous coniferous tree reaching 30-60 m tall, with a trunk up to 1.5 m diameter. The crown is narrow conic; the main branches are level to upswept, with the side branches often drooping. The shoots are dimorphic, with growth divided into long shoots (typically 10-50 cm long) and bearing several buds, and short shoots only 1-2 mm long with only a single bud. The leaves are needle-like, light green, 2-5 cm long, and very slender; they turn bright yellow in the fall, leaving the pale orange-brown shoots bare until the next spring.

The cones are ovoid-cylindric, 2-5 cm long, with 40-80 seed scales; each scale bearing an exserted 4-8 mm bract. The cones are red when immature, turning brown and the scales opening flat or reflexed to release the seeds when mature, 4-6 months after pollination. The old cones commonly remain on the tree for many years, turning dull gray-black.

It grows at 500-2,400 m altitude, and is very cold tolerant, able to survive winter temperatures down to about −50 °C. It only grows on well-drained soils, avoiding waterlogged ground.

The seeds are an important food for some birds, notably Pine Siskin, Common Redpoll and White-winged Crossbill.

Uses

The wood is tough and durable, but also flexible in thin strips, and is particularly valued for yacht building; wood used for this must be free of knots, and can only be obtained from old trees that were pruned when young to remove side branches. Small larch poles are widely used for rustic fencing.

Western Larch is used for the production of Venice turpentine.

The wood is highly prized as firewood in the Pacific Northwest where it is commonly called "Tamarack," although it is a different species than the Tamarack Larch. The wood burns with a sweet fragrance and a distinctive popping noise.

Indigenous peoples used to chew gum produced from the tree as well as eat the cambium and sap.Turner, Nancy J. "Food Plants of Interior First Peoples" (Victoria: UBC Press, 1997) ISBN 0-7748-0606-0

References and external links

*
* [http://www.conifers.org/pi/la/occidentalis.htm Gymnosperm Database: "Larix occidentalis"]
* [http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=233500745 Flora of North America: "Larix occidentalis"]
* [http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=LAOC USDA Plants Profile: "Larix occidentalis"]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • western larch — noun tall larch of western North America have pale green sharply pointed leaves and oblong cones; an important timber tree • Syn: ↑western tamarack, ↑Oregon larch, ↑Larix occidentalis • Hypernyms: ↑larch, ↑larch tree * * * noun …   Useful english dictionary

  • western larch — vakarinis maumedis statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Pušinių šeimos medieninis, vaistinis augalas (Larix occidentalis), paplitęs Šiaurės Amerikoje. atitikmenys: lot. Larix occidentalis angl. western larch vok. westamerikanische Lärche rus.… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • Larch — Taxobox name = Larch image width = 240px image caption = Larix decidua in autumn regnum = Plantae divisio = Pinophyta classis = Pinopsida ordo = Pinales familia = Pinaceae genus = Larix genus authority = Philip Miller subdivision ranks = Species… …   Wikipedia

  • western tamarack — noun tall larch of western North America have pale green sharply pointed leaves and oblong cones; an important timber tree • Syn: ↑western larch, ↑Oregon larch, ↑Larix occidentalis • Hypernyms: ↑larch, ↑larch tree * * * noun see …   Useful english dictionary

  • larch tree — noun any of numerous conifers of the genus Larix all having deciduous needlelike leaves • Syn: ↑larch • Hypernyms: ↑conifer, ↑coniferous tree • Hyponyms: ↑American larch, ↑tamarack, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Larch Mountain (Multnomah County, Oregon) — This article is about Larch Mountain in northern Oregon, east of Portland. For others, see Larch MountainInfobox Mountain Name = Larch Mountain Photo = Larch Mountain Oregon from Washough Washington.jpg Caption = Larch Mountain, as seen from… …   Wikipedia

  • larch — larcher, adj. /lahrch/, n. 1. any coniferous tree of the genus Larix, yielding a tough durable wood. 2. the wood of such a tree. [1540 50; earlier larche < MHG L laric (s. of larix) larch] * * * Any of about 10–12 species of coniferous trees that …   Universalium

  • larch fir — noun : lumber consisting of a mixture of Douglas fir and western larch …   Useful english dictionary

  • Larch Wood (Railway Cutting) Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery — Infobox Military Cemetery name= Larch Wood (Railway Cutting) body= Commonwealth War Graves Commission use dates= April 1915 April 1918 established= 1915 designer= Sir Edwin Lutyens coordinates= coord|50|49|40.4|N|02|55|24.4|E| nearest town= Ieper …   Wikipedia

  • Oregon larch — noun tall larch of western North America have pale green sharply pointed leaves and oblong cones; an important timber tree • Syn: ↑western larch, ↑western tamarack, ↑Larix occidentalis • Hypernyms: ↑larch, ↑larch tree * * * noun …   Useful english dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.