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Why do Larch trees turn yellow?

Everyone knows that conifer trees (like pine, fir, spruce) are evergreens, meaning they keep their needle-like leaves all through the winter. Then there are broad-leaved trees like maple, aspen, willow etc, which are deciduous, meaning their leaves change colour in the fall as they die and drop off for the winter. But did you know that one of our local conifer trees is also deciduous?

The Western Larch (and all of its other cousins in the Larch family) has needles like its other conifer cousins, but these needles will turn bright yellow each the fall and drop off just like a maple or willow tree! The trees then regrow their needles in the spring. This is a very unique characteristic in the tree world – outside of the Larch (Larix) family, there are only about five other tree species on Earth that do this!


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