European larch (Larix decidua)

Near SE corner of Carver Gym Map

A large deciduous tree with long needles (1.5") crowded in clusters on spur twigs. The needles turn a handsome golden yellow before falling in autumn. These are the trees that catch ones eye near the summit of Washington Pass, on a sunny day in early fall.

This tree was planted in 1996, as a 6 ft. sapling, and ten years later was clearly thriving. It has the potential to reach a height of over 150 ft. Western larch is highly valued as a source of timber; its long, straight trunk makes it particularly sought-after by builders of log houses. Thick bark around its base makes this species unusually adapted to periodic forest fires; along with lodgepole pine it is the first to regenerate.

This tree also represents fruit of a guilty conscience. When the new plaza between Wilson Library and Haggard Hall was created, an older Larix had to be transplanted. Despite the best efforts of the ground crew (and, one suspects, considerable expense), the tree died. To take its place, this tree was planted near the eastern entrance to Carver Gymnasium. At the same time a much-loved sculpture ("Rain Forest") also was uprooted; it was successfully transplanted to a place of honor near the new Wade King Student Recreation Center, where it can be seen bubbling and gurgling today.