The Gymnosperm Database


Extremely rare dwarf form, Shikotan, Kurile Islands (Abies sachalinensis in the background) [Vladimir Dinets] (Vladimir Dinets e-mail 2000.02.01).


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Conservation status

Larix gmelinii var. japonica

(Maxim. ex Regel) Pilger 1926

Common names

Shikotan-matsu [Japanese] (Iwatsuki et al. 1995 ).

Taxonomic notes

Synonymy (Farjon 1998,Iwatsuki et al. 1995):


Monoecious. Deciduous tree to 30 m tall, remaining dwarfed in severe environments (see photo). Bark gray-brown. Branches gray-brown, grooved. Long shoots red-brown, sparsely to subdensely puberulent. Short shoots 2-4 mm long and across, with traces of scales crowded into one to seven rings. Leaves spirally arranged on long shoots, numerous, crowded on short shoots, flat, 1.5-3 cm long, ca. 0.8 mm wide, apex obtuse, green on upper surface, with two white stomatal bands on lower surface; resin canals two, attached on lower margins. Flowers May to June, solitary, terminal on short shoots. Cones ripen in September, erect, ovoid, brown tinged with purple, 2-2.5 cm long, ca. 1.5 cm across; bracts thin, lanceolate to oblong-ovate, apex acuminate, with a prominent midrib, 8-9 × 2.5 mm, about 2/3 as long as scales; scales thin, widely ovate, narrowing upward, 10-13 × 8 mm, roundish-obtuse, apex not reflexed, pilose on upper margin, base densely lanate. Seeds oblong-ovate, black-brown outside, white inside, 4 × 2.5 mm; wings pale brown, ovate, narrowing upward, 5-7 × 3-4 mm (Iwatsuki et al. 1995).

This variety differs from var. gmelinii by its red-brown (not yellow-brown), sparsely to densely puberulent (not glabrous) young shoots (Iwatsuki et al. 1995); also, the opened cones are wider than long (length × width 1.2-2.5 × 1.5-2.8 cm), the seed scales more numerous (18-25), and the leaves slightly shorter (1.5-3 cm) (Farjon 1990).

Distribution and Ecology

Russia: Sakhalin and Iturup Island in the Kuriles; Japan: Etorofu and Shikotan Islands in the Kuriles (Iwatsuki et al. 1995), where it grows in high swamps and bogs, "usually in pure stands, but on somewhat drier sites mixed with Abies sachalinensis var. sachalinensis, Picea jezoensis, Alnus hirsuta, Betula japonica, Betula ermanii and Salix spp. (Farjon 1990).

Big tree







Farjon, Aljos. 1990. Pinaceae: drawings and descriptions of the genera Abies, Cedrus, Pseudolarix, Keteleeria, Nothotsuga, Tsuga, Cathaya, Pseudotsuga, Larix and Picea. Königstein: Koeltz Scientific Books.

See also

Iwata and Kusaka 1954. Provides illustrations (as L. gmelinii).

Last Modified 2017-12-29