European Larch identification
The European Larch Larix decidua, a conifer native to the Alps and Central European Mountains, was introduced to Britain about 1620. The tree is now common and is grown for its timber in forests and woodlands and also planted in parks and gardens for its appearance. European Larch identification is by its bright green deciduous needles in clusters and upright brown cones. This is a deciduous conifer. Leaves turn gold and fall in autumn and regrow from April. The needles grow in clusters, like ‘true’ cedars, and the buds are easy to see in winter. Some cones stay on the tree for years.
The needles are bright green in clusters of 20-30 needles. The needle clusters are on short stems called ‘spurs’.
Female ‘flower’ in March ready to receive pollen. Male ‘flowers’ are on the underside of a branch like this. Each one releases pollen for one day but the tree releases pollen over a period of 2 weeks in March and April.
Female ‘flowers’ in early May. These ‘flowers’ have been pollinated and are just beginning to grow into cones. This close-up shows the red top (the colour of the original ‘flower’) and the light green bract scales that will not be visible when the cone matures.