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Tree Campus: Western Larch

Tree Campus SCC is a multi-year and interdisciplinary college initiative to document, map, and celebrate the incredible diversity of trees planted on the campus. With over 200 species, Shoreline Community College is an arboreal paradise that deserves to b


Western Larch

Larix occidentalis (PINACEAE)



Inland W. North America



"Western larch pollen is distributed by wind and is less abundant than that of other conifers.... Larch forests provide food and cover for a wide range of fauna. Rodents eat seeds and seedlings, birds forage for insects and nest in western larch, and squirrels often cut and cache cones. Deer, elk, and moose browse larch, though probably only as a last resort, and black bears forage on sugars that are concentrated in the sap layer in the spring." [1]


Equity: Cultural and Historical Significance

"Native Americans used western larch for treatment of cuts and bruises, tuberculosis, colds and coughs, sore throats, arthritis, skin sores, cancer, and for blood purification. They also made syrup from the sap, ate the cambium, and chewed solidified pitch as gum." [1]



"Western larch is one of the most important timber-producing species in the western United States and western Canada. It has the densest wood of the northwestern conifers and is also very durable and moderately decay-resistant. Its high heating value makes it one of the best fuel woods in the region. The wood is also used commercially for construction framing, railroad ties, pilings, mine timbers, interior and exterior finishing, and pulp, and burned snags are often used to make shakes. High sugar content of western larch makes it undesirable for concrete forms because the sugars react chemically with the concrete...

Arabinogalactan, the gum from the tree, is used for lithography and in food, pharmaceutical, paint, ink and other industries. The most desirable sources of this gum are waste butt logs. Oleoresin from western larch is used to produce turpentine and other products." [1]



[1] Scher, Janette S. 2002. Larix occidentalis. In: Fire Effects Information System,. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available:

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