Pseudolarix Genus (Golden larch)

1 Species

Pseudolarix , described in 1858 by George Gordon (1806–1879) in The Pinetum, is a monotypic genus of flowering trees in the family Pinaceae. The sole species, Pseudolarix amabilis, is commonly known as golden larch, though it is not a true larch (Larix), being more closely related to Keteleeria, Abies and Cedrus. It is native to eastern China, occurring in small areas in the mountains of southern Anhui, Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Hubei and eastern Sichuan, at elevations of (350 to 5,000 feet (100 – 1,500 m) above sea level. Golden larch is sometimes known under an old scientific name Pseudolarix kaempferi, but this may cause confusion with Larix kaempferi, the Japanese larch.

photo by Roman Businský
photo by Roman Businský

It is a deciduous coniferous tree growing to mature heights of 100 to 135 feet (30 – 40 m; with a broadly conic crown. The shoots are dimorphic, with long shoots and short shoots similar to a larch, though the short shoots are not so markedly short, lengthening about 0.2 inch (5 mm) annually. The leaves are bright green, measuring 1.2 to 2.4 inches (3 - 6 cm) long and 0.08 in 0.12 inch (2 - mm) thick, with two glaucous stomatal bands on the underside. Needles turn a brilliant golden yellow before falling in the autumn, hence the common name. The leaves are arranged spirally, widely spaced on long shoots, and in a dense whorl on the short shoots.

The cones are distinctive, superficially resembling a small globe artichoke, 1.6 to 2.8 inches (4 - 7 cm) long and 1.6 to 2.4 inches (4 - 6 cm) broad, with pointed triangular scales; they mature about 7 months after pollination, when (like fir and cedar cones) they disintegrate to release the winged seeds. The male cones, as in Keteleeria, are produced in umbels of several together in one bud.

Golden larch is a very attractive ornamental tree for parks and large gardens. Unlike the true larches, it is very tolerant of summer heat and humidity, growing very successfully in the southeastern United States where most larches and firs do not succeed. In Europe growth is most successful in the Mediterranean region with notable specimens in northern Italy; further north in the United Kingdom it will grow, but only very slowly due to the cooler summers.

This conifer has earned the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Attribution from: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia