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Larch

Larch is a fairly rapidly growing tree,  whose long-lasting timber is very good for fencing, furniture making and boat-building amongst other uses. It is a large coniferous tree (it can grow up to 50m tall) and is unusual amongst conifers in that it is deciduous (i.e. sheds its leaves).

It was introduced to Britain in the early 17th century.   Larch comes in two ‘flavours” – European and Japanese.

larch-leaves

Leaf

The flattened, soft, needle-like leaves are arranged radially around the tips of young shoots, or in clumps/rosettes/bundles (of 30 to 40 leaves) on older wood.

 

In Spring, the new leaves are a bright, fresh green colour but in autumn they turn a yellow, golden colour.

If the tree is Japanese Larch, then the leaves have a blue-green colour.

larch-grain

Buds, Bark and Stem

The bark is a pinky-brown to pale brown. Buds are a golden brown colour.

 

The wood when sawn and prepared has a soft, mellow colour.

cone-larch

Flowers and Fruits

Red pink female flowers are positioned amongst young green needles, these mature into cones.

 

The male pollen forming cones are yellowish.

The cone scales of the European Larch are pressed towards the body of the cone, whereas those of the Japanese Larch arch backwards rather like the petals of a rose.

 

larch-wood

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