Larix griffithii

Larix griffithii, the Sikkim larch, is a species of larch, native to the eastern Himalaya in eastern Nepal, Sikkim, western Bhutan and southwestern China (Xizang), growing at 1,800–4,100 metres (5,900–13,500 ft) in altitude.

Sikkim larch
Larix griffithii.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
(unranked): Gymnosperms
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Larix
Species:
L. griffithii
Binomial name
Larix griffithii
Synonyms

Pinus griffithii (Hook.f.) Parl.

Tree in habitat

It is sometimes called the Himalayan larch, not to be confused with Larix himalaica, which is generally known as the 'Langtang larch'.

DescriptionEdit

It is a medium-sized deciduous coniferous tree reaching 20–25 m (66–82 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 0.8 m (2 ft 7 in) in diameter. The crown is slender conic; the main branches are level to upswept, the side branchlets pendulous from them. The shoots are dimorphic, with growth divided into long shoots (typically 10–50 cm (4–20 in) long) and bearing several buds, and short shoots only 1–2 mm (0.039–0.079 in) long with only a single bud. The leaves are needle-like, light glaucous green, 2–4 cm (1–2 in) long; they turn bright yellow to orange before they fall in the autumn, leaving the pale yellow-brown shoots bare until the next spring.

The cones are erect, ovoid-conic, 4–7.5 cm (2–3 in) long, with 50-100 seed scales, each seed scale with a long exserted and reflexed basal bract; they are dark purple when immature, turning dark brown and opening to release the seeds when mature, 5–7 months after pollination. The old cones commonly remain on the tree for many years, turning dull grey-black.[2]

 
Larix griffithii female cone

TaxonomyEdit

It has 2 accepted variants;[3]

  • Larix griffithii var. griffithii
  • Larix griffithii var. speciosa (W.C.Cheng & Y.W.Law) Farjon

Synonyms of the variants; include Abies griffithiana J. D. Hooker ex Lindley & Gordon and Larix griffithiana hort. ex Carrière.

Trees to the northeast of the range in eastern Bhutan and Xizang have been separated as Larix kongboensis (Mill 1999); they differ in smaller cones 3–5 cm (1–2 in) long. This taxon has been accepted by the Flora of China but not widely elsewhere.[3][4]

References and external linksEdit

  1. ^ Farjon, A. (2013). "Larix griffithii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013: e.T42311A2971477. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T42311A2971477.en. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  2. ^ Flora of China: Larix griffithii
  3. ^ a b "Larix griffithii Hook.f. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science". Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 6 January 2022.
  4. ^ Mill, Robert (1999). "A New Species of Larix (Pinaceae) from Southeast Tibet and Other Nomenclatural Notes on Chinese Larix". Novon. 9 (1): 79–82. doi:10.2307/3392124. JSTOR 3392124. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.