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Any of about 10–12 species of coniferous trees that make up the genus Larix of the pine family, native to cool temperate and sub-Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Though the larch has the pyramid shape typical of conifers, it sheds its short, light-green, needlelike leaves in autumn. The most widespread North American larch, the tamarack, or eastern larch (L. laricina), matures in 100–200 years, may grow 40–100 ft (12–30 m) tall, and has gray to reddish-brown bark. Coarse-grained, strong, hard, and heavy, larch wood is useful in ship construction and for telephone poles, mine timbers, and railroad ties.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on larch, visit Britannica.com.