The western larch, one of the world's largest larches, grows 231 to 264 feet high (70 to 80 metres), and can live up to 400 years. Like all larches, the needles of the western larch are shed in winter, diminishing its aesthetic appeal.
It generally occurs in regions near the ocean, on moist soils at elevations between 1,320 and 4,950 feet (400 and 1500 m). Despite its moisture requirements, it rarely grows in fog belts.
The western larch may occur in small pure stands, but it is usually mixed with other conifers, such as Douglas fir, western white pine and Engelmann spruce.
Its heavy, hard, strong wood is yellowish. It is the most important native larch for pulpwood and lumber production. It is used for piling, railway ties, flooring, interior wainscotting (panelling) and exterior finishing.
Needles, in tufts of 15 to 30, deciduous.
Fruits, reddish-brown cones with long yellow bracts.