This widely used tree came into existence as a result of a chance cross-pollination of Japanese and European larch on the Duke of Atholl’s estate in Dunkeld at the turn of the 20th century.
Nowadays most of the seeds are produced in seed orchards with trees of each parent planted in alternate rows. The offspring show remarkable ‘hybrid vigour’ growing faster than the parent and surviving under poorer conditions.
The hybrid larch’s botanical name is Larix x eurolepis, and it changes crown colour in spring, autumn and winter, which contrasts with other coniferous species - making it widely used in designing forest landscapes.
Facts about hybrid larch
Uses: Its strong durable timber is used for fencing, rails and gates.
Leaves: Its deciduous needles grow in rosettes on the short shoots.
Bark: It has grey-brown bark, fissured into regular plates.
Seed: Reddish purple female flowers form cylindrical cones with rounded scales, many of which turn outwards.
Height: Trees can reach up to 40 metres.
Lifespan: 300 years
Natural range of parent species: central Europe & Japan