European Larch - Larix decidua

    Alternative names

    Tree to 35 metres with irregularly whorled branches, leaves in tufts on short lateral shoots, or spirally arranged on leading shoots, rather pale green,12 to 30 mm long that have inconspicuous greenish stripes on the undersurface . It has tall, ovoid cones with erect scales and yellow twigs.

    Similar Species

    The commonest confusion species are L. kaempferi and L. x marschlinsii, which have cones with patent scales that have recurved tips, and leaves with conspicuous whiteish stripes on the undersurface.

    L. kaempferi - pink to red twigs with leaves 15 to 40 mm long and short ovoid cones


    L. x marschlinsii  - pink-orange-brownish twigs with leaves 40 to 50 mm long and mid-height ovoid cones.

    Sometimes it is very difficult to identify material, but the tall cones, erect scales and shorter leaves of L. decidua are good characters. The hybrid can be very difficult to separate from the species.

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    Female cone-scales erect

    Recording advice

    Photo of cones and shoot; photo of whole tree


    Various. Often found in plantations, but sometimes naturalised.

    When to see it

    March April.

    Life History


    UK Status

    Widespread throughout Britain, often in plantations.

    VC55 Status

    Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 172 of the 617 tetrads.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map