Like Cryptomeria japonica (Thunb. ex L. F..) D. Don., the plant of this day, Larix decidua Mill., is a species, which I've found at the Botanical Garden of Solingen in West Germany (it was the first time, i saw this species in natura).
Larix decidua Mill. (“European Larch” in English; “Europäische Lärche” in German) belongs to the family of the Pinaceae. The species of the genus Larix are the only members of this family, which aren't evergreen. They loosing their needles in autumn to avoid evaporation during the winter.
L. deicdua Mill. - Habitus
It's a big tree (40 metres (123 feet)). The bright green needles sit in dense clusters on short shoots with 20 – 40 needles per shoot. They are smooth and not piercing. The short shoots sit alternately at the gray long shoots, giving the hanging branches the appearance of a rod.
L. decidua Mill. - Branch with a cone
The species is monoicous, so we have male or female plants. This one is female and has young female cones, that are red coloured.
L. decidua Mill. - young female cone
L. decidua is native to Europe. Scientists believe that the species survives the last ice age in southern Europe and spread out from there after the ice was going back
It's a tree of mountainous regions and can be found in the high mountain forests of the Alps or the Carpathians. In combination with Pinus cembra L, L. decidua even forms a own plant society which is called the "Arolla pine – Larch forest" .
In the flat land on the other hand, it's often planted as a ornamental or forest tree.
L. decidua Mill. - branches
The species like bright places and is very endurable against fiercest, what gives the species a advantage in evolution against other trees, because in other cases it's very weak competitive