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European Larch


European Larch Tree
The European larch is a deciduous conifer, which means that unlike evergreen conifers, it drops its leaves in the fall. Before they fall, the European larch's leaves turn a brilliant yellow. The European larch has been present in Central Park since the 1860s. It is more successful in the Park than its native cousin, the American larch, which prefers cooler temperatures. The wood of the European larch is strong and resistant to rot, making it useful in many ways, including as the wood used in the pilings of Venice.

Common Name: European Larch

Scientific Name: Larix decidua

Origin: North and Central Europe

Family: Pinaceae

Size: 80 - 100' tall, 20 - 30' wide

Form: Pyramidal, horizontal branches, weeping branchlets

Culture: Thrives in full sun and well drained, slightly acidic to neutral soil; can tolerate poorly-drained soils

Leaves

1 - 1.25" long; soft, flat needles; bright green in spring, darkening with maturity

Flower

0.25 - 0.75" long; bloom early spring; female flowers are egg-shaped in reds, pinks, yellow, or green; male flowers are smaller and yellow

Fruit

1 - 1.5" long, purple cones dry to brown, egg-shaped, scales are overlapped but not reflexed

Bark

Grayish outer bark; loosened, elongated plates reveal a reddish inner bark; young stems are yellowish and furrowed