Golden Oregon Larch Tree
Larix Occidentalis, Shevlin Park, Bend, Oregon
Bend Oregon’s 981 acre Shevlin Park( seen below) is one of the Crown Jewels of a very proud Parks and Recreation Department. Shevlin Park is a forest wonderland on the outskirts of Central Oregon’s largest city. The park is blessed with a proliferation of old growth ponderosas and Western Larch Trees( Larix occidentalis). During autumn, Shevlin Park has beautiful fall color displays.
Initially,Aspen trees and Riparian Red twig dogwood begin their seasonal celebration. Later in autumn there is a last burst of golden glow provided by Oregon Larch Trees.
The Larix family are one of the few coniferous trees that are also deciduous, meaning they lose their needles in winter. As winter begins to approach, an Oregon Larch tree conserve energy by ceasing photosynthesis. This cessation, of photosynthesis, stresses the needles and turns them golden yellow prior to dropping for the winter. Because Larch trees winter over without needles, their branches are less susceptible to winter snow damage. At the peak of fall color, Golden Larch trees have an amazing texture and unified golden glow. Seeing a healthy specimen up close is beautiful. Seeing a forest of them is Magical!
These Old growth Larch trees in Shevlin Park grow tall, really tall. In fact, during the winter of 1843 Explorer John C. Frémont wrote in his journal about 140 foot tall wrote about Larch trees and a 40 foot wide stream that the exploratory party experienced. Frémont’s Journal records, latitude coordinates,and maps all indicate that during that journal entry, he was in Bend Oregon’s Shevlin Park, viewing the same Larch trees that Bend residents get to enjoy every autumn during their golden eruption!