2016

 
 

Pseudolarix is a monotypic genus in the Pine family and its one species is the Golden larch, or Pseudolarix amabilis. It's not a true larch but is more closely related to Keteleeria, Fir and Cedar and is native to East Asia. Golden Larch was formerly known as Pseudolarix kaempferi which was too similar to Larix kaempferi, which is the Japanese larch.
Golden larch is a fine-textured tree, which, in cultivation, slowly reaches 40 to 50 feet tall with an open form that spreads with age , perhaps to 25 feet. It does grow much larger in the forests of eastern China. It has an impressive form as most of the larger conifers do. And Golden larch is one of the more unusual conifers in that it is a needled conifer that is deciduous. The other, better known, example is Bald cypress, Taxodium distichum.
These leaves, or needles, are the most attractive feature of this wonderful, but rarely seen tree. In spring they are a lovely emerald green, 1 to 2.5 inches long and arranged in whorls. And unlike some needled conifers, they are soft and inviting to touch with a feathery texture. And as spring turns to summer they change from emerald to a handsome blue-green. This is the attractive shade they maintain for the rest of the season until those first cool breezes, and then the show really starts because the foliage turns a brilliant golden yellow, and is quite the attention grabber in the autumn garden. This, of course, is where the common name derives. 
The cones are unusual and attractive with pointed triangular scales. And like the leaves, they start out blue-green and turn golden-brown for autumn with a decorative quality.
Golden larch prefers sun and a light well-drained soil but can grow in heavy clay. It is also pollution tolerant and pest and disease free. In the United States it has a vast range growing from Canada to the Gulf Coast. And this makes it a nice alternative to true larches in areas that are too warm for larches, such as the American south and Australia and it does quite well in the UK and New Zealand. As usual, this special tree will not be found in the popular landscape nurseries but more likely in a specialty, mail-order, plant nursery.

Golden larch

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