Larch (Western Larch), Larix occidentalis, is a very large deciduous tree, up to 150’ tall or sometimes even larger. It has light green needles that turn yellow in Autumn before falling. It grows on mountain slopes and in valleys on porous, loamy, gravelly, and sandy soils. It is found in British Columbia, Montana, and northern Oregon at elevations of 600 to 1,700 metres. The natural sugar in the gum resembles a slightly bitter honey that can be made into medicine and baking powder. Grouse like to eat the buds and leaves. *
Tamarack (Eastern Larch), Larix laricina. The hardy Tamarack is one of the northern-most trees in Canada, and survives very cold climates. Its height is up to 80’; its needles are deciduous, soft and very slender, light blue green, turning yellow in Autumn before shedding. This tree lives in the wet, peaty soils of bogs and swamps across northern North America, near the tree limits from Alaska east to Labrador and down south as far as Virginia, from sea-level to 1,200 metres. Indians used the slender roots to sew together strips of birch bark for their canoes. Roots bent at right-angles served the colonists as “knees” in small ships, joining the ribs to deck timbers. *
Larch Hills Winery is located in an area called the Larch Hills. This area is bordered by the Shuswap Lake to the north, the 97A Highway to the east, and the 97B Highway to the west, forming a triangle where 97A and 97B join at the southern tip of the area and become the 97 Highway going down the Okanagan Valley. Our winery is located very close to that southern-most tip of the Larch Hills area. As the name implies, lots of Larch trees grow in the area. They can be best identified in the fall when big patches of forest turn brilliant yellow.
*Source: Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees.