The larch tree (Larix) is unusual because it is a deciduous conifer. It has needles that turn golden in the fall and then fall off. It also has little cones. In the spring the larch greens up with soft green needles on graceful branches. The photo above shows my friend’s larch and a pine growing in friendly proximity.
Early this spring I got a call from the brother of a friend who said he found a larch seedling on his land and I could have it if I wished. Well, of course, I wished. He dug it up for me and I got it right in the ground. I guess I did manage to keep it watered during this very dry year because it has survived and thrived. So far. Unlike my recalcitrant sourwood, my larch has gained height and is now about 36 inches high. You can see that it has turned golden and is already shedding its needles.
Beyond the interesting fact that larches are deciduous I don’t know much more. In doing a tiny bit of research I did learn that in Venice larch trees were tapped to make a special turpentine. My husband said people aren’t supposed to use turpentine any more so maybe that practice is out of date.
Larch also has been used medicinally. The Lakota tribe used the inner bark of the larch and combined it with echinacea to make a mixture to prevent colds and flu. You can buy larch tree extract to make your own mixture.
Those who have ever used Bach’s Rescue Remedy when they were under stress may be familiar with the other Back Flower Remedies. Bach remedies don’t only use ‘flowers’. Larch is an important remedy ““For those who do not consider themselves as good or capable as those around them, who expect failure, who feel that they will never be a success, an so do not venture or make a strong enough attempt to succeed.” I wonder if just brushing against my larch from time to take will urge me on to making strong attempts to succeed. We’ll see.