Montana Outdoors

November 1, 2010


Filed under: Autumn — Tags: , , — montucky @ 11:26 pm

Western larch, autumn Western larch, autumn

Western larch, autumn Western larch, autumn

Western larch, autumn Western larch, autumn

Western larch, autumn

Western larch can grow much taller than the ones in these photos, the largest as tall as 200 feet. It is also fascinating to consider the longevity of these trees which can live as long as 700 years. It is likely that there are larch still living that were 100 feet tall when Columbus first landed on the shores of America.



  1. I’ve traveled many places but none of them had tall trees. These trees are huge… I really would love to see them.


    Comment by Preston — November 2, 2010 @ 3:41 am

    • They really stand out this time of year. The largest ones are over 4 feet in diameter. They shed their lower limbs and have thick bark which helps them survive fires.


      Comment by montucky — November 2, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

  2. Now that’s awesome! Beautiful blues, too!!!


    Comment by Tricia — November 2, 2010 @ 7:06 am

    • It sure makes hiking in the forests pleasant this time of year!


      Comment by montucky — November 2, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

  3. I haven’t ever seen Western larch. Wow! That is tall and long lived! Beautiful in its blazing yellow.


    Comment by Anna — November 2, 2010 @ 8:44 am

    • Western larch is a larger relative of the Tamaracks that are found in the northeast and Canada.


      Comment by montucky — November 2, 2010 @ 12:03 pm

  4. I have not ever seen a Western Larch. They are handsome trees! Thanks for your great pictures!

    Have a fine day today!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — November 2, 2010 @ 8:45 am

    • They are awesome trees, especially the old ones that are really huge! I hope you have a great day too!


      Comment by montucky — November 2, 2010 @ 12:04 pm

  5. 700 years! That is amazing. They must be strong trees.
    It looks like a lot of the trees out there are larger than in the East. Is that right?


    Comment by sandy — November 2, 2010 @ 2:41 pm

    • Larch are amazing trees. Part of their longevity is because they are quite capable of surviving fire. Nearly all of the large larch that I see show signs of fire at their bases, where the thick bark at some time has been charred and yet the tree survived. They have also been very valuable for lumber, and are used many times to re-seed burned or logged areas.

      I’m not at all familiar with the eastern trees, although I know there are a lot of hardwoods there. Those in the west tend to be large but they are nearly all softwood.


      Comment by montucky — November 2, 2010 @ 8:57 pm

  6. That is amazing to consider. They are a lovely tree. I never heard of them until reading your blog last year.


    Comment by Candace — November 2, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

    • In summer larch blend in very well with the other conifers and most folks don’t really notice them. In fall they become very obvious because of their color. In winter they look like dead trees, bare of needles. In spring they are bright again, but then they are a light lime-green, the color of the new needles.


      Comment by montucky — November 2, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

  7. It’s almost hard to imagine a tree that tall. It’s amazing they haven’t fallen victim to wind and time, and man.


    Comment by Robin — November 3, 2010 @ 6:36 am

    • THey are very strong and very hardy, Robin, but far too many do fall victim to man. I think of the larch when those who are eager to exploit the forests of the west describe them as a “renewable resource”. Personally I don’t consider a resource that takes 700 years to recover as “renewable”.


      Comment by montucky — November 3, 2010 @ 11:15 pm

  8. amazing! i like the layout here too


    Comment by silken — November 3, 2010 @ 6:45 am

    • Thanks Silken. It’s hard to photograph trees this tall and even harder to present the photos.


      Comment by montucky — November 3, 2010 @ 11:16 pm

  9. Incredible images and history Terry, what a magnificent tree !!


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — November 3, 2010 @ 8:30 pm

  10. Fantastic. I did not knew that they can grow so high there. Here they are planted and they can be seen on some places. It is not so generally seen. When on fall they can be seen better due to their color.

    This was interesting!!!


    Comment by sartenada — November 5, 2010 @ 12:32 am

    • The trees in these photos are not the tallest or the largest, but the light was right for these. Because they are native here and because they have a very good survival strategy, there are many of them. Their presence on the sides of even the tallest mountains is announced when they turn color.


      Comment by montucky — November 5, 2010 @ 9:28 pm

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