Species of Wood: Larch, Western
Western larch (Larix occidentalis) grows in western Montana, northern Idaho, northeastern Oregon, and on the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains in Washington. About two thirds of the lumber of this species is produced in Idaho and Montana and one-third in Oregon and Washington. The heartwood of western larch is yellowish brown and the sapwood, yellowish white. The sapwood is generally not more than 2.5 cm (1 in.) wide. The wood is stiff, moderately strong and hard, moderately high in shock resistance, and moderately heavy. It has moderately high shrinkage. The wood is usually straight grained, splits easily, and is subject to ring shake. Knots are common but generally small and tight. Western larch is used mainly for rough dimension wood in building construction, small timbers, planks and boards, and railroad crossties and mine timbers. It is used also for piles, poles, and posts. Some high-grade material is manufactured into interior woodwork, flooring, sashes, and doors. The properties of western larch are similar to those of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), and these species are sometimes sold mixed.