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Western Larch (Larix occidentalis) is also sometimes known as Tamarack, Mountain Larch, or Hackmatack. It is one of the few deciduous conifers, its needles turning yellow and falling to the ground in the Fall. The other deciduous conifers are the Dawn Redwood and the Bald Cypress. Western Larch has a low drought tolerance and requires full sun. It grows in the North Western United States and Canada. The crown is short and open, and the bark resembles P. ponderosa. It has the densest wood of all the North West Conifers, and is the tallest of the larix species.

Height: Up to 200'

Needles: 1-2" long, 15-30 needles per spur

Cones: <2", long, thin, red-brown scales, borne upright, and stay for years

USDA PLANTS Database Link

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Montana Goldenpea (Thermopsis montana) is also known as Mountain Goldenbanner, Montana Bushpea, Yellow Pea, Buffalo Pea, Buckbean, or False Lupine. It is native to Western North America, and grows in wet and dry conditions, as well as in sandy or rocky soil. It spreads via rhizomes and by seed. The slender stems are purplish with a white coating, slightly branched above, and bear three-parted leaves. Yellow, lupine-like flowers occur in dense to interrupted clusters 4-12 in. long. Flowers are followed by velvety pods that turn black in the Fall when the seed is ripe. Fun fact, the flowers are especially attractive to bumblebees.

Life Cycle: Perennial

Solar Exposure: Full sun

Bloom Color: Yellow

Bloom Time: May through August

USDA PLANTS Database Link

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Pacific Ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus), also known Physocarpus opulifolius (L.) Maxim. var. tomentellus (Ser.) Boivin and Spiraea capitatus Kursh. It grows in riparian and coastal areas. It is not very common in Idaho and only grows in the Clearwater and Snake River drainages. It provides good cover and nesting for birds and small mammals but is not very palatable for browsing. The reddish, papery bark peels off in long layers. Leaves are alternate along the stem, 3-10 cm long, 3-5 lobes and doubly toothed at the margin. They are shiny dark green above and lighter beneath with fine, star-shaped hairs and deeply veined. Fun fact, capitatus stands for headlike flower clusters.

Height: 6' to 12'

Solar Exposure: Prefers part-shade, tolerates full-sun

Bloom Color: Creamy-white with pink stamens

Bloom Time: April through July

USDA PLANTS Database Link

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