|Natural range of Larix lyallii|
Larix lyallii, the subalpine larch, or simply alpine larch, is a deciduous, coniferous tree native to northwestern North America. It lives at high altitudes, from 1,500 to 2,900 meters (4,900 to 9,500 ft), in the Rocky Mountains of Idaho, Montana, British Columbia, and Alberta. There is a disjunct population in the Cascade Range of Washington.
Subalpine larch is hardy and can survive at low temperatures and on thin rocky soils, often being found near the tree line. It can grow in a variety of soils and with or without shade, as long as the soil is moist but well drained. However, it is relatively shade intolerant.
Larix lyallii is a small tree, growing from 10 to 25 meters (33 to 82 ft) tall and shorter at higher elevations. It has a straight trunk with a sparse and somewhat conical crown. The branches are horizontal, perpendicular to the trunk, irregularly spaced and twisted. The twigs are finely hairy. The needles are four-angled, 20 to 35 millimeters (3⁄4 to 1+1⁄2 in) long and crowded in groups of 30 to 40 on short spurs. They are pale blue-green and deciduous, turning golden yellow in autumn.
The seed cones, 2.5 to 4 centimeters (1 to 1+1⁄2 in) long, are red-purple when young but become dark brown with age. They have thin scales and narrow bracts that extend over the scales. The pollen and seed cones become active in early summer. The bark is about 2.5 cm thin and turns from yellow-gray to dark red-brown with age. It also becomes deeply furrowed into small, scaly plates.
The bark contains tannin and the wood is strong, heavy, and durable.
- Farjon, A. (2013). "Larix lyallii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013: e.T42314A2971798. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T42314A2971798.en. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
- Arno, Stephen F.; Hammerly, Ramona P. (2020) . Northwest Trees: Identifying & Understanding the Region's Native Trees (field guide ed.). Seattle: Mountaineers Books. pp. 76–83. ISBN 1-68051-329-X. OCLC 1141235469.
- "OLDLIST". Rocky Mountain Tree Ring Research. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
- Worrall, John (1990). "Subalpine Larch: Oldest Trees in Canada?". The Forestry Chronicle. 66 (5): 478–479. doi:10.5558/tfc66478-5.
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Larix lyallii (category)