Larch: Deciduous Conifers
Larches are deciduous conifers. They are a sight to behold in autumn, when their needles turn from green to yellow. Deciduous conifers are relatively unusual, so take the time to appreciate these great trees. In winter when these trees are needle-less, you can really appreciate the whorled symmetry of conifer trees.
Larch trees are in the genus Larix, family Pinaceae. Larches are one of the dominant plants in the boreal forests of Russia and Canada. In fact, they are found throughout much of the cooler temperate Northern Hemisphere. Unlike many other coniferous genera, Larix are deciduous, and lose their needles every winter (after turning yellow in fall). The cones of larch trees are fairly small, starting off green or purple, and ripening to brown within about 6 months.
Some of the species in our collection are wild-collected from countries such as Russia (Kuril larch [Larix gmelinii var. japonica], Siberian larch [L. sibirica]) and China (Olga Bay larch [L. gmelinii var. olgensis], Prince Rupprecht's larch [L. gmelinii var. principis-rupprechtii]). You will also find various forms of larches in the Garden Conifer section.
If you really love the larch tree, check out parts of an old larch collection also on the East Side (east of the Eastern U.S. Wetlands Collection). You can also see larches scattered throughout the grounds, around Lake Marmo, Meadow Lake, and in the Children's Garden.