Larix decidua

Common Name(s)

European larch


Larix decidua Mill.



Flora Category

Vascular - Exotic

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Gymnosperm Trees & Shrubs


Terrestrial. A plant of montane and subalpine habitats and sites of low fertility (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995). A plant of tussockland (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995).


Rather open-branching deciduous tree to 43 m. Needles are grass-green, 4 cm long and are held in dense whorls of 40-65 on the side shoots of branchlets. Male cones are yellow, and drooping from the lower sides of branchlets; female cones are crimson red, maturing to brown, elongated ovoid in shape, upright and 4 cm high. Seed with large asymmetric wing.

Similar Taxa

can be distinguished from L. kaempferi by the crimson-red juvenile female cones, and more dense and irregular needle clusters.

Flower Colours

No Flowers

Year Naturalised



Europe, W Asia

Reason For Introduction

Life Cycle Comments
Perennial. The life span of the plant is greater than 80 years (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995).

130,000-170,000 seeds per kg of cones (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995). Seed remains viable after 3-5 years of dry storage at 4 degrees C (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995).

Seed dispersed by wind (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995).

The plant is intolerant to frost at time of spring flush), dense shade and poor drainage; tolerant of partial shade and slightly intolerant of drought (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995). Physical damage to the plant results in regrowth if some green foliage remains (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995). Fire can kill plants less than 2m (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995). Generally can grow in harsh conditions where no grazing, oversowing or topdressing has occurred (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995).

This page last updated on 26 Mar 2010