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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 poorer conditions making it great for timber production.

The hybrid larch’s botanical name is Larix x eurolepis and, 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-friendliness.

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: Reddish-purple female flowers form cylindrical cones with rounded 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.
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