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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Western Larch - Larix occidentalis

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 4

External Links

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

    Score0 - Large: Generally >100,000 individuals.

    Range Extent

    Score0 - Widespread species within Montana (occurs in 5% or more of the state or generally occurring in 6 or more sub-basins.) as well as outside of Montana.

    Area of Occupancy

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

    Environmental Specificity

    Score0 - Low: Species is a generalist that occurs in a variety of habitats and/or is tolerant of disturbed or degraded habitats (C -Values of 1-4).


    Score0 - Stable or Increasing: Population size, range, and/or available habitat stable, increasing or fluctuating in the recent past (approximately 30 years).


    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 0 total points scored out of a possible 19.

General Description
Large trees to 60 m; older trees without branches for most of their height. Bark of mature trees thick, deeply furrowed, covered with cinnamon-colored plates. Leaves 15 to 30 per spur, 2–5 cm long, 3-angled. Seed cones brown to reddish, 25–40 mm long (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Species Range

Range Comments
WA and BC to OR, 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: 2840

(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)

Moist to wet forests, especially on cool slopes; valleys to lower subalpine (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?
    • Artley, D. K. 1978. Predicting duff reduction from broadcast burning in western larch/Douglas fir stands. M.S. Thesis, University of Montana, Missoula.
    • Crenshaw, J. G., and B. R. McClelland. 1983. Western larch hald eagle roosts in Glacier National Park, Montana. P. 10 in R. O. Anthony, F. B. Isaacs, and R. W. Frenzel, eds., Proc. of a workshop on habitat management for nesting and roosting bald eagles in the western United States. Oregon Coop. Wildl. Res. Unit, Oregon State University, Corvallis.
    • 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.
    • Shearer, R. C. 1959. Western larch seed dispersal over clear-cut blocks in northwest Montana. Proceedings Montana Academy of Science 19:130-134.
    • Tackle, D. 1962. Infiltration in a Western larch -- Douglas fir stand following cutting and slash treatment. USDA Intermountain For. and Range Exp. Sta., Ogden, Utah. Res. Note No. 89. 7 pp.
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Citation for data on this website:
Western Larch — Larix occidentalis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from