Larix x eurolepis. DUNKELD LARCH. Alps, Carpathians, Siberia
Various species of larch are distributed widely in the
circumarctic forests, some extending as far south as the Pacific Northwest and
the Atlantic Northeast. The larch is a tree of many uses: house framing, railroad
ties, shipbuilding, pilings (as at Venice), telephone poles, turpentine production,
and the manufacture of baking powder. In the British Isles Larix decidua is the
most planted exotic tree. Larch is also a widely valued and versatile ornamental,
and is used for street planting in cold mountainous places. It is deciduous, unlike
most conifers. Stanford has little to show of this respectable tree. The larch
in the circular island at the south end of the Braun Music Center archway is a
Dunkeld larch, a disoriented hybrid ('Varied Directions') between the European
larch (L. decidua) and the Japanese larch (L. kaempferi). It
exhibits the characteristic well-spaced tufts of short needles. When the leaves
fall there is a display of charming, upright, 1-inch cones whose scales follow
the Fibonacci pattern. Collect a twig and use the dark winter buds to study the
larch's spiral phyllotaxy. The drooping specimen on the east side (in back lawn)
of Harmony House off Lomita Drive is L. decidua 'Pendula.'
decidua. EUROPEAN LARCH.
PINACEAE (Pine family)
Illustration: McMinn, Howard E. and Evelyn Maino. 1951. An illustrated manual of Pacific coast trees; with lists of trees recommended for various uses on the Pacific coast by H. W. Shepherd. 2d ed. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.
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