Alpine larch is similar to Western larch, but grows at higher elevations in the North Cascades in Washington, where it reaches a height of 80 feet (25 meters).
Alpine larch is similar to Western larch, with
needles that are less than 2
inches long and come in large bundles. Also like Western Larch, it
needles in the fall. You can distinguish these two species by looking
at the shape of the needles. Western larch needles are 3-sided, while
Alpine larch needles have 4 sides.
The cones look
similar to Western larch cones, with whiskers that stick out beyond the
scales. While Western larch cones connect to the branch on short
Alpine Larch cones are nearly stalkless.
The bark is
brown or gray with flaky plates on large trees.
Where it grows: Alpine
larch grows at elevations higher than Western larch, near the
timberline, on the east side of the North Cascades in Washington.
It also grows in the
Rocky Mountains of Idaho, Montana, and Canada. Its range is limited in
the Northwest, but where it grows, it is often dominant, growing higher
and larger than other subalpine conifers. It stands out even more in
the fall when the needles turn golden yellow.
translates to "larch." The
species name honors botanist Robert Lyall.