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Western larch

Larix occidentalis


The Western larch is a deciduous coniferous tree reaching 30 to 60 metres (98 to 197 ft) tall. The needle like leaves turn bright yellow in the fall. This is probably the tallest Western larch I've seen.


Spotted in eastern Washington in the foothills of the Cascade mountains.


The seeds are an important food for some birds, notably pine siskin, redpoll, and Two-barred crossbill. Some Plateau Indian tribes drank an infusion from the young shoots to treat tuberculosis and laryngitis. 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 often 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.

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Spotted by

Washington, USA

Spotted on Oct 17, 2018
Submitted on Oct 20, 2018

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