Larix occidentalis “Western Larch” Pinaceae
Seeley Lake, MT
September 13, 2014
Larch cones are simply beautiful. Two small, winged seeds hide beneath each scale, waiting to be dispersed on the wind as they fall to the ground when the cone matures. Each scale also bears a single long, pointed bract, giving the cone a delicate, yet spiky appearance. This particular cone also bears many resin crystals which may have been produced by damage from seed predators such as Red Crossbills. If you ever have the opportunity to visit the Seeley Lake region in the late summer or early fall, you would not be disappointed. These deciduous conifers transform into golden spires that light-up our mountainsides in a spectacular patchwork of fiery pillars scattered among rich, evergreen firs and pines. It is unlike any fall scenery anywhere else in the world.