Northwest Conifers


Larches – Larix

Unlike most conifers, larches are deciduous, dropping their needles in the fall. The needles grow in bundles like the pines, but they have many more needles per bundle, and each bundle grows on a distinctive little spur twig. Two species of larch grow in the Northwest.

Western larchWestern Larch
 – Larix occidentalis

Needles: Bundles of 25, 1-2" long

Cones: 1-2" long, whiskery bracts

Bark Flaky scales, furrowed

Where: Cascades, up to 6000 ft.


Alpine LarchAlpine Larch
 – Larix lyallii

Needles: Bundles of 20-40, 1-2" long

Cones: 1-2" Round scales, whiskery bracts

Bark: Gray scales

Where: At timberline in the North Cascades of Washington


© 2012 Ken Denniston