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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Alpine Larch - Larix lyallii

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
See rank details.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Alpine Larch (Larix lyallii) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 05/24/2012
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Population Size

    Score1 - Moderate: Generally 10,000-100,000 individuals.

    Range Extent

    Score2 - Regional or State Endemic or Small Montana Range: Generally restricted to an area <100,000 sq. miles (equivalent to 2/3 the size of Montana or less) or Montana contributes 50% or more of the species’ range or populations OR limited to 2-3 Sub-basins in Montana.

    Area of Occupancy

    Score0 - High: Occurs in >25 Subwatersheds (6th Code HUC’s).

    Environmental Specificity

    Score1 - Moderate: Species is restricted to a specific habitat that is more widely distributed or to several restricted habitats and is typically dependent upon relatively unaltered, good-quality habitat (C Values of 5-7).


    Score0-1 - Stable to Minor Declines:


    Score0 - Low: Impacts, if any, to the species are expected to be minor or insignificant (affecting <10% of populations) in severity, scope and immediacy.

    Intrinsic Vulnerability

    Score0 - Low Vulnerability: Species does not have any unusual or specific life history or biological attributes or limted reproductive potential which makes it susceptible to extirpation from stochastic events or other adverse impacts to its habitat and thus slow to recover.

    Raw Conservation Status Score

    Score 4 to 5 total points scored out of a possible 19.

General Description
Small trees to 20 m tall with open, often asymmetrical crowns. Bark covered with red- to purple-brown flakes. Leaves up to 40 per spur, 4-angled, 1–3 cm long. Seed cones 30–45 mm long, yellow to purplish-green (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Species Range

Range Comments
WA and BC to ID and MT (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 155

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Near treeline where snow lies late in areas with stony soil derived from non-calcareous parent material. Usually the dominant tree where it occurs, forming open woodlands, often with an understory of ericaceous shrubs (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Arno, S. F. 1970. Ecology of alpine larch (Larix lyallii Parlatore) in the Pacific Northwest. Unpublished dissertation, University of Montana, Missoula. 264 pp.
    • Arno, S. F., and J. R. Habeck. 1972. Ecology of alpine larch (Larix lyallii Parlatore) in the Pacific Northwest. Ecological Monographs 42:417-450.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Little, E.L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agriculture Handbook No. 541. U.S. Forest Service, Washington, D.C. 375 pp.
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Citation for data on this website:
Alpine Larch — Larix lyallii.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from