Herbs & Plants

Larix gmelinii

Botanical Name:Larix gmelinii
Family: Pinaceae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Genus: Larix
Species:L. gmelinii

Synonyms: L. dahurica.

Common Names: Dahurian Larch, Kurile larch

Habitat:Larix gmelinii is a species of larch native to eastern Siberia and adjacent northeastern Mongolia, northeastern China (Heilongjiang) and North Korea,Europe – Russia.
It grows in dense forests at high altitudes. Hills, mountains, rocky slopes, peatlands, swamps, lowland sub-arctic plains, river basins and valleys 300 – 2800 metres

Larix gmelinii is a medium-sized deciduous coniferous tree reaching 10–30 m tall, rarely 40 m, with a trunk up to 1 m diameter. The crown is broad conic; both the main branches and the side branches are level, the side branches only rarely drooping. The shoots are dimorphic, with growth divided into long shoots (typically 5–30 cm long) and bearing several buds, and short shoots only 1–2 mm long with only a single bud. The leaves are needle-like, light green, 2–3 cm long; they turn bright yellow to orange before they fall in the autumn, leaving the variably downy reddish-brown shoots bare until the next spring.

The cones are erect, ovoid, 1–2 cm (rarely 2.5 cm) long, with 15-25 moderately reflexed seed scales; they are green (rarely purple) when immature, turning brown and opening to release the seeds when mature, 3–5 months after pollination. The old cones commonly remain on the tree for many years, turning dull grey-black.

It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen in October. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Wind.


Resin is extracted by tapping the trunk. It is obtained from near the centre of the trunk, one properly made borehole can be used for 20 – 30 years. The resin has a wide range of uses including wood preservatives, medicinal etc. The hole is made in the spring and the resin extracted in the autumn. The yield is about 40 grams per tree. The bark contains tannin. Wood – hard, durable. Used in construction, water pipes, mine props, beams etc

Ecological Uses:

Larix gmelinii forms enormous forests in the eastern Siberian taiga, growing at 50-1,200 m altitude on both boggy and well-drained soils, including on the shallow soils above permafrost. It is unique in two respects, being the northernmost tree in the world, reaching 73° 04′ 32″ N 102° 00′ 00″ E as creeping forms of the trees in the tundra of the Taymyr Peninsula, 72° 55′ 07″ N 106° 08′ E as comparatively vertical growing single trees, 72° 31′ N 105° 03′ E at Lukunsky grove and 72° 28′ N 102° 15′ E at Ary-Mas as the subtundra sparse forests which are situated both in the Taymyr Peninsula, Khatanga river basin, and also the most cold-hardy tree in the world, tolerating temperatures below -70 °C in the Oymyakon–Verkhoyansk region of Yakutia. One tree in Yakutia was recorded as being 919 years old.

Dahurian larch is occasionally grown in botanical gardens in Europe and North America; it is not an easy tree to grow in areas with mild winters as it is adapted to a long period of winter rest; the warm winter weather in Britain can tempt it into leaf as early as the start of January, with the tender young leaves then being killed by the next frost. In its native region, daily minimum temperatures above freezing do not occur until late May or June, with no further frost until the brief summer is over.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only.


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