Larix gmelinii var. olgensis
Common Name: dahurian larch
Type: Tree
Family: Pinaceae
Native Range: China
Zone: 2 to 5
Height: 40.00 to 90.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 30.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Leaf: Good Fall

Culture

Best grown in moist, acidic, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates some light shade. Intolerant of full shade, dry soils and most city pollutants. Best performance is in temperature conditions that mirror its native habitat, namely, cool summers and cold winters. Trees perform poorly in hot and humid summer conditions south of USDA Zone 5 including the St. Louis area.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Larix gmelinii, commonly called Dahurian larch, is a deciduous conifer whose needles turn a showy yellow in fall before falling to the ground for winter. It is native to northeastern Siberia. This is a tree of very cold climates, ranging northward inside the Arctic Circle to tree line. In the wild, it grows to 40-60' (less frequently to 100') tall with a broad conic but open crown and horizontal branching. Bright green needles (to 1 1/2" long) in brush-like clusters appear at the ends of spur-like shoots along the branches. Cones (to 1 1/2" long) emerge purple but mature to light brown.

Var. olgensis, sometimes commonly called Olga Bay larch, is a rare variety that is native to the Olga Bay region northeast of Vladivostok, Russia. It primarily differs from the species by having hairy, reddish-brown young twigs and slightly larger cones.

Genus name is the classical name for larch trees.

Specific epithet honors Johann Georg Gmelin ( 1709-1755 ), botanist and author of The Flora of Siberia.

Problems

Potential insect pests include larch case-bearer, larch sawfly, larch looper, tussock moth, Japanese beetle and woolly aphids. Potential disease problems include needle cast, needle rust and canker.

Garden Uses

Olga Bay larch is grown in cold areas, and is not recommended for the St. Louis climate. Good fall color.