Abies kaempferi (Lamb.) Lindl.
Abies leptolepis Siebold & Zucc.
Laricopsis kaempferi (Lamb.) A.H.Kent
Larix japonica A.Murray bis
Larix japonica Carrière
Larix leptolepis (Siebold & Zucc.) Gordon & Glend.
Larix orientalis Thunb.
Pinus japonica Thunb.
Pinus kaempferi Lamb.
Pinus larix Thunb.
Pinus leptolepis (Siebold & Zucc.) Endl.
Pinus nummularia Gordon & Glend.
Pseudolarix kaempferi (Lamb.) Gordon & Glend.
Common Name: Japanese Larch
Larix kaempferi is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 45 metres tall
An extremely important timber tree in Japan where it is widely harvested from the wild and also planted.
Larix kaempferi has a fairly restricted range in central Hoshu, Japan. It is an extremely important timber tree and although it has been heavily exploited over time, there has been supplemental re-planting of the species essentially for commercial reasons.The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
E. Asia - Japan
Mountains in C. Japan[
Larix kaempferi is found at higher elevations in central Japan where the climate is cold, with snowy winters and abundant rain in cool summers[
]. It is a very cold-hardy plant, able to tolerate temperatures down to around -30°c when fully dormant[
Prefers an open airy position in a light or gravelly well-drained soil[
]. Plants are intolerant of badly drained soils, but they tolerate acid and infertile soils[
]. Succeeds on rocky hill or mountain sides and slopes[
]. A north or east aspect is more suitable than west or south[
This species is very cold-hardy when fully dormant, but the trees can be excited into premature growth in Britain by mild spells during the winter and they are then very subject to damage by late frosts and cold winds[
Slow growing for its first two or three years from seed, it is then very vigorous making between 1 and 1.5 metres increase in height a year[
]. The belief that older trees do not do so well is erroneous, 50 year old specimens in Britain are still growing rapidly[
]. Trees have been planted for timber in N.W. Europe[
The heavy leaf-fall from this species soon suppresses any other vegetation, including rhododendrons[
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[
There are many named varieties, selected for their ornamental value, most of these are dwarf forms[
Open ground plants, 1 year x 1 year are the best for planting out, do not use container grown plants with spiralled roots[
]. Plants transplant well, even when coming into growth in the spring[
The trees are attractive to small finches, tits and treecreepers[
Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
A fast-growing tree, it can be used in shelterbelt plantings[
The heavy leaf-fall of this species has lead to it being planted as a fire-break in some areas where pine trees are grown[
The bark contains tannin[
Wood - strong, heavy and durable[
]. The wood is similar to that of European Larch and is used for construction, railway sleepers, pit props and the pulp industry[
Seed - sow late winter in pots in a cold frame. One months cold stratification helps germination[
]. It is best to give the seedlings light shade for the first year[
]. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots. Although only a few centimetres tall, they can be planted out into their permanent positions in the summer providing you give them an effective weed-excluding mulch and preferably some winter protection for their first year. Otherwise grow them on in the cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in early summer of the following year. The seed remains viable for 3 years[
If you are growing larger quantities of plants, you can sow the seed in an outdoor seedbed in late winter. Grow on the seedlings in the seedbed for a couple of years until they are ready to go into their permanent positions then plant them out during the winter.