European Larch

Larix decidua

  1. Wildlife
  2. Trees and shrubs
  3. European Larch


The European Larch is an unusual conifer as it is deciduous. It has small cones on brittle twigs which start of as green and red, but turn brown as they mature, eventually opening their 'scales' to release the seeds inside. In spring, the needles are bright green but they turn golden yellow in the autumn, before they drop.

How to identify

The European Larch can be recognised by the clusters or 'tufts' of short needles on its twiggy branches, and the small, upright cones that look reddish before hardening. There is usually a thick layer of shed needles beneath the tree as well.

Where to find it

Widespread, planted for forestry.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Although plantations of introduced tree species are often considered to be poor for biodiversity, they can, in fact, support a range of wildlife from Red Squirrels to Firecrests. The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for wildlife by ensuring a range of appropriate tree species provide food and shelter. You can help too: volunteer for The Wildlife Trusts and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to raising awareness about woodland wildlife.

Species information

Common name
European Larch
Latin name
Larix decidua
Trees and shrubs
Height: up to 35m Pine cone length: 2-3cm
Conservation status
Introduced species.