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Japanese Larch (Larix kaempferi)

Japanese Larch As you walk through the Arboretum's Marsh Area in late October/early November, you may notice a tall conifer with leaves changing from green to bright yellow. This Japanese Larch is native to central and northern Japan. It is planted in Japan and northern Europe (including the British Isles) where its decay resistant wood is used for construction and fences. It is also the most popular of the larches for use in Bonsai. Japanese Larch can grow to more than 100 feet in height with spreading branches that give it a cone-shaped appearance.

Japanese Larch Needles First-year shoots bear single leaves (needles), while older branches bear clusters of needles (up to 60 per cluster) on short shoots. Japanese Larch is one of several deciduous conifers at the Arboretum - others include Dawn Redwood (Metasequoisa glyptostrboides), Bald Cypress (Taxodium disticum), and Pond Cypress (Taxodium ascendens). Typically larches are trees of mountains or high latitudes. Three species of larch are native to North America: Tamarack (Larix laricina) is a component of boreal forests and peatlands in Canada and the northern U.S., extending south into Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia; Western Larch (L. occidentalis) occurs in the Northwestern U.S. and adjacent Canada; and Subalpine Larch (L. lyalli) grows at or near timberline in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.

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