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European larch - Mélèze commun

Larix decidua


The European larch is native to the mountains of central Europe. It prefers dry climates, and quite unusually for a conifer, it has deciduous needles and is mostly bare in winter. It is the dominant species on some lateral alpine valleys and can form singles species forests as seen here. Check the whole series for details on the tree and its habitat.


Alpine slope, alt. 1800 m .


These tress can reach a height of 30-40 meters. The bark is grayish-red, cracked and very thick on old trees. Larches growing on a steep slope acquire the typical curved shape seen on the first shot as they fight against gravity to straighten up. The cones of the European larch are are ovoid-conic, 2–6 cm long. They are green variably flushed red when immature, turning brown and opening to release the seeds when mature. The old cones commonly remain on the tree for many years, turning dull grey-black (pic 3) Narrow valleys surrounded by high peaks provide a habitat especially well suited for this species (pic 5) Here see a series on the same species taken in autumn http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/890....

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DanielePralong 5 years ago

You're welcome Mark. One of my favorite trees. The deciduous needles in this species are thought to be part of climate adaptation.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 5 years ago

Thanks Daniele. Of course we hear about the Larch but I had no idea of what they even looked like. Deciduous needles are certainly something to ponder.

DanielePralong 5 years ago

They are Luis! Thanks for your comment. In the conifers only Larix and Pseudolarix are deciduous.

LuisStevens 5 years ago

Very interesting trees.

DanielePralong 5 years ago

Thanks arlanda! They are indeed quite stunning, one of my favorite trees.

arlanda 5 years ago

Very nice trees!

Spotted by

Valais - Wallis, Switzerland

Lat: 46.09, Long: 7.53

Spotted on Jan 28, 2014
Submitted on Feb 7, 2014

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