Larch

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Information@ a Glance

General

  • Larches are conifers in the genus Larix, in the family Pinaceae. They are native to much of the cooler temperate northern hemisphere, on lowlands in the far north, and high on mountains further south. Larches are among the dominant plants in the immense boreal forests of Russia and Canada. Larix decidua, Larix kaempferi and Larix laricina are the species most commonly trained as bonsai.
  • They are deciduous trees, growing from 15-50 m tall. The shoots are dimorphic, with growth divided into long shoots typically 10-50 cm long and bearing several buds, and short shoots only 1-2 mm long with only a single bud. The leaves are needle-like, 2-5 cm long, slender (under 1 mm wide). They are borne singly, spirally arranged on the long shoots, and in dense clusters of 20-50 needles on the short shoots. The needles turn yellow and fall in the late autumn, leaving the trees leafless through the winter.

Growth Information

  • Larch is valued in forestry for its wood, which is tough, waterproof and durable, with top quality knot-free timber being in great demand for building yachts and other small boats. Larch has also been used in herbal medicine; In central Europe remembered as best wood material for residences building. Planted on borders with birch both tree species were used in pagan sagged cremations. 
  • The longest life of one dead larch tree was 813 years with pith dating back to the beginning of the 9th Century A.D. We found two dead stands with vertical in situ larch trunks excellently preserved on a plateau below the Kizil-Tash Glacier and on a lateral moraine terrace of the Korumdu Glacier.
  • In Siberia young larch branches are at spring harvested, preserved by lactobacillus fermentation are used as salad during winter. Larch is used as a food plant by the larvae of a number of Lepidoptera species - see list of Lepidoptera which feed on Larches. The tree was a running gag in Monty Python sketches.Also, larches are often utilized in bonsai culture, where their knobby bark, small needles, fresh spring foliage and especially autumn colors are appreciated. 

Production & Processing

  • One of the most important constituent part of project of complex waste-free processing of larch wood is the extraction of biologically active compounds from wood. The wood of two species of larch (Larix sibirica Ledeb. and L. gmelinii (Rupr.) Rupr.), which are widely distributed all over Siberia, is rich by its content of polysaccharide arabinogalactan (AG) and bioflavonoid dihydroquercetin (DQ).
  • Western larch [Larix occidentalis Nutt. (Pinaceae)] is a monoecious, deciduous conifer that occurs in the upper Columbia
    River Basin of North America (British Columbia, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon). Its seed and pollen cones commonly occur in the upper and lower parts of the crown, respectively, but considerable overlap exists.
  • Western larch (Larix occidentalis Nutt.) commonly grows in mixed stands, and is a relatively important tree species in the Nelson Forest Region. Western larch’s range is relatively small,from Okanagan Lake east to the western flank of the Rocky Mountains, and north to Shuswap and Columbia lakes. Its elevational range is limited by drought at low elevations and by cold temperatures at high elevations.

Properties

  • Larch timber has a pale creamy brown sapwood and a dist inct ly reddish brown hear twood which is naturally durable and strong. This inherent durability and strength means that it has t raditionally been used for fencing, gate material, boat building and other outdoor uses. The effective preser vative treatment of other timbers has led to a situation where larch is not as important a timber as it once was.
  • Jack pine and hybrid larch have better early growth and survival on these soils than red pine and white spruce. From the soil and growth relations, hybrid larch growth was not related to organic mat-ter and had better growth in the loamier textures of the site.

Market

  • The stock volume of export logs at the ports of Nakhodka and Vladivostok combined is 300-350 thousand m3, which is a normal level at this time of year.Low grade logs intended for China occupy roughly 50%. Exporters wouldn’t change the tough position for red pine logs. At Wanino as well, about half of its stock of spruce and larch is of low grade. Red pine logs command $155 (CIF), about the same level as the previous month, spruce remained flat around $145 as Korean ports are fully occupied, and larch $154, which is strengthening. Red pine genban (cants) KD is priced for $330 and green $285, nearly at the same level as the previous month.
  • Japanese larch is native to a 363-km2 area in the mountains of central Honshu, where it grows in scattered stands at elevations of 900 to 2,800 m. Despite this small native range, test plantings of Japanese larch in several parts of the United States and eastern Canada, Japan, China, Great Britain, and Germany have shown significant differences among seed sources in tree height, survival, terminal bud set on leader, number of branchlets, insect resistance, winter and spring cold damage, and susceptibility to sulfur fumes.

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