Larix decidua ‘Pendula’ / Weeping European larch and dVerse OLN

resized larch tree 060721 (2)
I bought this beauty earlier this week. The tree is shaped (bonsai-ed) as it grows to look like this.

Rising from the soil
as Kun rises from water
a green furred dragon.
Brown scales gleam when she rests, as
heaven’s grace flows to and fro.

Lillian is today’s host of dVerse’ Open Link Night.

One of my old co-workers in the juvenile probation officer job ended up leaving and putting his teaching degree to further good use. He worked for some years at an alternative education high school and got the students involved in an annual fundraising plant and craft sale that taught them a lot about entrepreneurship. He and wife, both retired from their day jobs, (although I’ve never seen any two retired people work harder!) now run a very successful perennial plant, shrub, tree nursery from their homes and also have a stall at the farmer’s market.

Before covid, when I routinely visited the farmer’s market I would always stop at their stall to see what goodies they had to offer. One season they had a variety of small larch trees for sale. It was love at first sight. I curbed the impulse to buy any; yet they were put on my bucket list.

Finally getting past the contemplative stage of change – my contemplation stage can be LONG – to the action stage, I started doing a little research on larch trees. I was knock-over astounded to learn that larch trees, although they have the appearance of evergreens with the shape and color of the leaves, they drop their leaves in the fall! To me, a non-scientist tree-lover, I see the larch tree as a missing link between deciduous and evergreens. The realization of just how special larch trees are convinced me to contact my friend and set up an appointment at his and his wife’s place to look at the several varieties of larch to choose from.

resized larch branch 060721

As I got the tour of the what I will call Garden of Eden that is their property, a labor of love for these two as much as anything, we finally got to the larch section. My avid curiosity had me firing questions about larch habits and care faster than my friend could answer. I looked until one “sang to me” as my friend described it. He said when you choose like that, with a connection, it makes the tree feel loved and it grows better. I have no reason to doubt it. We managed to lay down the back seats of the car, maneuver it in, and get the trunk door shut. (Getting it out solo was another matter!) It’s between 5′-6′ tall. Close inspection reveals a trunk texture that inspires poetry.

resized larch bark

Going out to old faithful, the internet, I found some of the specifics on the variety I chose.

Conifer Society says:
Larix decidua ‘Pendula’ bears luminous, fresh, green foliage that covers this fast-growing weeping tree in the spring. In the fall, there is a glow of yellow before the needles drop to reveal tawny-brown twigs. This plant can take on a multitude of forms depending on how it is trained and staked. Terminal branches will push up to 12 inches (30 cm) each year, creating with time, an imposing specimen in the landscape. This is an extremely old cultivar in the nursery trade, likely first described in botanical literature as early as 1836, perhaps 1789, leading one to believe that multiple clones likely exist.

Wisconsin’s Horticultural Extension says:
The larches (Larix spp.) are unusual conifers, in that they are deciduous and drop all their leaves each autumn, unlike their evergreen cousins. They are among the earliest trees to come into leaf in spring, with leaves on both short shoots (spurs) and long shoots. Clusters of leaves arise from each spur. The needle-like leaves are usually vivid green, sometimes blue-green in summer and turn butter yellow to old gold in autumn. Upright, summer-ripening cones are borne on the shorter shoots and remain on the tree for some time. In older trees, the branches tend to droop in a graceful manner. Larches are adaptable to most soils, though wet soils are best avoided for most species. All need full sun, and are readily transplanted when dormant. Species hybridize readily, in the wild and in cultivation. They propagate readily from seed.

Larix occurs in boreal circumpolar lowlands in Alaska, Canada and Russia, and at moderate to high altitudes in the mountains of North America, northern Europe, and over much of Asia from Siberia as far south as northern Myanmar. There are about 11 species (there is some debate about the Asian ones). The most commonly available larch for landscaping is the European larch and its hybrids.

The European larch, Larix decidua (= europaea), is hardy to zone 2. In its native range in the Alps and Caucasian mountains, it forms extensive forests at high altitudes. It has also naturalized in other parts of northern Europe on moist soils in temperate regions. This tree was important in European folklore, being traditionally considered to prevent enchantment and ward off evil spirits – infant children sometimes wore collars of larch bark as protection against the evil eye. Various preparations of larch were also used for medicinal purposes.  A brown dye was also obtained from the needles in autumn.

On the North American continent European larch is most commonly planted in southeastern Canada and the northeastern United States, where it makes a great ornamental tree. Young trees establish very quickly and grow vigorously, putting on 12 to 18 inches of growth annually. European larch does best with sufficient moisture, well-drained and sunny conditions; it does not grow well in very dry or wet soils. One cultivar of the European larch is ‘Pendula,’ a small version of the original that weeps down to the ground.

 

63 Comments Add yours

  1. ghostmmnc says:

    What a beautiful tree. I love how the branches twist around and the bark is pretty. It’s really nice how the leaves hang down, and are such a soothing green. I’ve never seen a larch tree, so this was so interesting to read about. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Glad you like the look of the tree. TX is probably too hot for it, although MI has a TX heat going on right now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ghostmmnc says:

        I think summer is finally showing up. It’s been over 100 degrees here for a few days, and we have heat advisories for the area. Stay cool! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          Thanks, Barbara. You too!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Jen Goldie says:

    That’s gorgeous! I’d buy it in second!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      🙂 I’m still trying to decide where to plant it!

      Like

      1. Jen Goldie says:

        The Seller should know if your conditions are right. They should have asked you that before you bought it. Give em a call. No?
        You’ll find the perfect place because I know you love plants! 😊👍

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          This one will do well here, I’m just worried about the heat wave and transplanting it. Plus I wanted a native MI tree not a European variety. As long as no risk of it being an invasive species I’m cool with it.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Jen Goldie says:

            Good luck with it! I’m sure it will be fine! 😊🤞

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Glenn A. Buttkus says:

    Up in the Cascades, the Larch and fir coexist. Because it is not an evergreen conifer, in autumn its leaves turn a bright gold; a wondrous delight to witness, turning foothills into gold bars.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Oh Glenn, that sounds SO pretty! The idea of seeing a forest of larch and fir coexisting.

      Like

  4. We do have larch in some places (usually planted) but it survives our winter, and as you say it feels strange with a tree that grows new needles every year.

    That said I remember from Monty Python’s flying circle when they said as interlude:

    And now for something completely different…. the larch…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Bjorn I’m glad you are familiar with them. Now that I know Monty Python had a few words for them, consider me a lifelong fan 🙂

      Like

  5. lillian says:

    Had never heard of larch….as I’ve always said, I always learn something new at dVerse! It is truly beautiful!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, it is. I want to see how this one does here and see if more are on the horizon…

      Like

  6. Dora says:

    Lisa,
    Enjoyed this read about the larch. Very much like a dragon, and hard to tame to boot, a part of its charm.
    pax,
    dora

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      🙂 Indeed, Dora! Thank you.

      Like

  7. Not that it doesn’t already have it, but your words bring the tree to vivid life.

    And thank you for the informative description that follows your poem.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Ken. When I posted it earlier today the poem was at the end, but when I chose it for OLN I moved it to the top.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. merrildsmith says:

    I love all this information about the larch. Thank you, Lisa
    “He said when you choose like that, with a connection, it makes the tree feel loved and it grows better.” 💙

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      You are very welcome. My pleasure, Merril. He and his wife are true stewards of the plant kingdom.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Truedessa says:

    This was an informative piece and I learned something new. thank you

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      You are very welcome, thank you. My pleasure.

      Like

  10. Lucy says:

    This is very beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Lucy, thank you! How many can say they have a dragon living with them?

      Liked by 1 person

  11. robtkistner says:

    What a fascinating read Lisa, thank you for sharing this! What a killer plant. As Glenn said, it is a deciduous conifer, and quite beautiful when they go golden in autumn, interspersed with our evergreens here in the PacNW. We get turpentine from the Larch.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Rob so glad you are familiar with them. You make turpentine from larch trees? Or from their sap? Interesting!

      Like

  12. Mark S says:

    Thanks for sharing this! The weeping larch looks beautiful in your pictures.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      You’re very welcome. I was kind of disappointed that I didn’t choose a native MI larch 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  13. rothpoetry says:

    What an interesting tree and post! I never heard of this tree before. It looks like a perfect fit for you! I hope it does very well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      The biggest hurdle for the tree now is getting into the ground. Can’t decide where to plant it. Lots of barriers to every place I’ve considered for it so far. Wish me luck.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. rothpoetry says:

        Give it lots of love and it will grow!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. kittysverses says:

    Wow, never heard or seen Larch trees, Li. Thank you for your detailed information. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks Kitty, my pleasure!

      Like

  15. Ingrid says:

    My son learned about the larch in geography last year, which is when I learned it was deciduous. Slovenians love their trees! A beautiful poem and interesting background story, thank you Lisa.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Very cool they are teaching about trees in school! Thank you for your wonderful comment, Ingrid.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. memadtwo says:

    I know I’ve read about these trees recently somewhere. And I think it had to do with their magical properties. Yours is a beauty! (K)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Very neat tree and very neat you’ve recently read about them. I didn’t know about the magical properties, but I definitely get a cool vibe from this tree. I went out to see live music last night of an old musician favorite of mine who played on the rooftop of a restaurant. Got home around 9 and it was just getting dusk. I swear the tree called to me! I went out and flooded the container with water and then gave it a nice cool shower.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. memadtwo says:

        I believe it. A good decision.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Raivenne says:

    Ooooh! Such a lovely plant. I had nor heard of Larch before, beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Raivenne, meet larch; larch, meet Raivenne 🙂 Glad to make the introduction.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Helen Dehner says:

    ‘The missing link.’ Love that. So much wonderful information in your post Lisa. And the poem … ‘heaven’s grace’ .. perfect.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Many thanks, Helen. When I get to heaven I’m going to find out if I’m right 🙂

      Like

  19. What a beautiful tree the larch! ❤️
    Not surprise dyou had to buy it right away.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. calmkate says:

    great choice! This post reminds me instantly of my “hippy” teens when I finally met Eileen and Peter Caddy from Findhorn, what a blessing that was!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Kate. The names aren’t familiar to me…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. calmkate says:

        founders of Findhorn, a Scottish community who talked to plants … grew roses in snow and giant veggies 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          I just googled it. So neat you met the founders. I bookmarked their site.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. calmkate says:

            fascinating how your post reminded me of them … also met a community member who used regularly visit oz to give lectures/talk about their achievements … you’ll love it!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. msjadeli says:

              It might be a fun place to take a (working) vaca…

              Liked by 1 person

              1. calmkate says:

                could well be!

                Liked by 1 person

  21. Oh gosh it’s a beauty, and I absolutely was enchanted by your backstory and how it sang out to you. Such a great post! Thanks for sharing ~peace, Jason

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Jason 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  22. writingwhatnots says:

    Beautiful tree – and poem too. The close up of the trunk looks so interesting – great photo. Thank you for telling us more about the Larch – love reading about trees.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you and thank you for your lovely comment, Marion.

      Like

  23. Xan says:

    The other thing that amazed me about larch is how soft the needles are (because, of course, they aren’t needles). What a wonderful poem & essay, and yes that trunk is poetry-inspiring!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    Good for your friends for doing what they seem to love.. What an odd tree…odd as in cool…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      It’s a beauty and yes, my friends are very happy doing what they do.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Beautiful poem. I think the Larch has cast its spell on you and will inspire you with many more poems! 😍

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      I think you are right, Tricia ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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