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A close up of a hybrid larch cone and needles.

Hybrid larch cone and needles - licensed under Creative Commons Wikicommons/Heiti Paves

This widely used tree came into existence as a result of an accidental cross-pollination of Japanese and European larch on the Duke of Atholl’s estate in Dunkeld. The offspring grew faster than the parent and survived under worse conditions. This made it a great choice for timber production.

The hybrid larch’s botanical name is Larix x eurolepis. Unlike other conifers, it changes crown colour in spring, autumn and winter. These changing colours make it a popular choice for forests which balance timber production with visitor access.

Botanical drawings of hybrid larch

Facts and stats

  • Lifespan: 300 years
  • Height: Trees can reach up to 40 metres.
  • Leaves: Its deciduous needles grow in rosettes on the short shoots.
  • Seeds: Red-purple female flowers form cylindrical cones with round scales, many of which turn outwards.
  • Bark: It has grey-brown bark, fissured into regular plates.
  • Native to: Central Europe and Japan
  • Uses: Its strong durable timber is used for fencing, rails and gates.