Larix kaempferi

Larix kaempferi (*)

Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Classis: Pinopsida
Ordo: Pinales
Familia: Pinaceae
Genus: Larix
Species: Larix kaempferi


Larix kaempferi (Lamb.) Carriere 1856


* Flore des Serres et des Jardins de l'Europe. Ghent (Gand) 11: 97 (1856)
* USDA, NRCS. 2006. The PLANTS Database, 6 March 2006 (

Data compiled from various sources by Mark W. Skinner. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

* USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. [1]


Japanese Larch (Larix kaempferi; Karamatsu (唐松) in Japanese) is a species of larch native to Japan, in the mountains of Chūbu and Kantō regions in central Honshū.[1]

It is a medium-sized to large deciduous coniferous tree reaching 20-40 m tall, 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 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, light glaucous green, 2-5 cm long; they turn bright yellow to orange before they fall in the autumn, leaving the pinkish-brown shoots bare until the next spring.[1]

The cones are erect, ovoid-conic, 2-3.5 cm long, with 30-50 reflexed seed scales; they are green when immature, turning brown and opening to release the seeds when mature, 4–6 months after pollination. The old cones commonly remain on the tree for many years, turning dull grey-black.[1]

It grows at 500-2,900 m altitude on well-drained soils, avoiding waterlogged ground.

The scientific name honours Engelbert Kaempfer. It is also sometimes known by the synonym Larix leptolepis.


Japanese Larch is an important tree in forestry plantations, being grown throughout central and northern Japan (north to Hokkaidō), and also widely in northern Europe, particularly the British Isles. The wood is tough and durable, used for general construction work. Small larch poles are widely used for rustic fencing.


In late 2009 the Phytophthora ramorum or 'sudden oak death disease was first found in Japanese Larch trees, in the England counties of Devon, Cornwall and Somerset.[2]

References and external links

1. ^ a b c Farjon, A. (1990). Pinaceae. Drawings and Descriptions of the Genera. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3-87429-298-3.
2. ^ Forestry Commission webpage on Phytophthora ramorum

* Conifer Specialist Group (1998). Larix kaempferi. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006.
* Gymnosperm Database: Larix kaempferi

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