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Larix

Larch
Pinaceae
Deciduous, Trees

These conifers form slender pyramids with horizontal branches and drooping branchlets. Needles are 1/2–1 1/2 in. long, in fluffy tufts. Except as noted, those of the species listed in this database are soft to the touch. Woody, roundish, 1/2 to 1 1/2-in.-long cones are scattered all along branchlets. Notable for color in spring and fall and for winter silhouette. In spring, these show off pale green tufts of new needles and bright purple-red new cones. In fall, needles turn brilliant yellow and orange before dropping. Winter interest is enhanced by the many cones, which turn brown with age and hang on to create a polka dot pattern against the sky.

Larix decidua
Larix decidua

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Larix decidua

From mountains of Europe. Moderate to fast growth 30 to 60 ft. tall, 10 to 25 ft. wide. Grass green summer foliage, yellow-orange fall color.

Larix kaempferi, photo courtesy of Ernst Kucklich
Larix kaempferi, photo courtesy of Ernst Kucklich

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Larix kaempferi

Native to Japan. Most frequently planted larch in theWest. Fast growing to 60 ft. ortaller, 20–30 ft. wide, but canbe dwarfed in containers. Summer foliage is bluish green.‘Diana’ grows 45 ft. tall, 20 ft.wide, with twisted growth.

Larix occidentalis

Native to the Cascadesand northern Rocky Mountains.Grows 150–200 ft. tall as timber tree, but usually just 30–50 ft. tall, 10–15 ft. wide in gardens. Sharp, stiff needles are blue-green to gray-green insummer.

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