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Botanical Name: Larix decidua 'Pendula'
Common Name: European Weeping Larch
Origin: Central Europe
Notable Feature: The cultivar ‘Pendula’ is a shrub form of the very tall Larix decidua. Known for its soft, summer foliage and cascading habit with weeping branches sweeping to the ground.
Habit: A deciduous, needled evergreen. If a weeping larch is trained to form a trunk, the leader can be trained in any direction and will reach 10 to 12 feet high and 6 to 8 feet wide in 10 years. All side branches weep to the ground. Without a leader or any support, ‘Pendula’ can also grow along the ground (with age spreading 30 feet) or spill over the side of a container when still young.
Flowers: Monecious (male and female flowers are borne separately on the same tree). Appearing in early spring, the male flowers are light yellow, small and round; the female flowers are mostly red with long, curved scales.
Fruit: Cones are 1 to 1 ½” long, composed of many scales, borne upright on the twig, green and variably flushed reddish purple when immature, and later turning brown and opening to release its seeds (4 to 6 months after pollination). Old cones commonly remain on the tree for years aging a dull gray-black.
Foliage: Deciduous, appearing singly on new growth and in whorls on older growth, 1” long, light green in color, turning bright yellow and dropping in the fall. Borne on short stems (spurs) in clusters of about 35 needles.
Bark: On young trees the bark is scaly and gray, later becoming furrowed with a reddish brown inner bark.
Interesting Fact: Few true conifers lose their needles in winter, but those that do tend to have soft, pliable foliage and a lofty, architectural grace. The European larch is no exception. This valuable timber tree naturally exists in the mountains of Europe, particularly the Alps and Carpathians, and is very long-lived. Its cultivar ‘Pendula’ is best used as a specimen plant in open, sunny borders, and it is particularly showy if planted where winds can sway its flowing summer branches.