Japanese larch is a sun-loving, deciduous conifer native to Japan. The 70-foot-high pyramidal tree has slender, pendulous branches, and clusters of bright green needles that turn a golden yellow in the fall before dropping.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Residential and parks,
- City parkway,
- Wide median
- Shade tree,
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Moderately Tolerant
- Intolerant of pollution,
- May be difficult to find in nurseries
- Fall color,
- Showy fruit
Season of Interest:
- Mid spring,
- Late spring,
- Early summer,
- Mid summer,
- Late summer,
- Early fall,
- Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Insect-eating birds,
- Seed-eating birds
Tree & Plant Care
Best in sunny site with moist soil. Intolerant of shade, drought and air pollution.
Disease, pests, and problems
Larch case-bearer, gypsy moth and woolly aphids are potential problems.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to Japan.
Bark color and texture
Mature bark is a scaly, reddish brown.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Clusters 40 needles on short spurs. Needles dark green above with 2 white bands on lower side.
Fall color is golden yellow. Needles are deciduous.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Female flowers are 1/2 inch long and reddish, male flowers are smaller, yellow , and catkin-like along the same twigs.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Small, 1 to 1 1/2 inch stalked cones persisting throughout winter.
Cultivars and their differences
Diana Japanese larch (Larix kaempferi 'Diana'): This cultivar has a pyramidal habit and contorted new growth; grows 45 feet tall and 20 feet wide.