The Gymnosperm Database

range map

Range of Larix sibirica (Atlas Florae Europaeae 1998).


Trees at the forest edge, SW Tuva, Russia, near Mongolia [Nikolai Laschinskii, Central Siberian Botanical Garden].


Forest in the NE Altai, Russia [Nikolai Laschinskii, Central Siberian Botanical Garden].


Mature tree on Salair Ridge near Novosibirsk [Nikolai Laschinskii, Central Siberian Botanical Garden].


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Conservation status

Larix sibirica

Ledebour 1833

Common names

Ли́ственница сиби́рская [Russian]; Siberian larch, Russian larch (Dallimore et al. 1967).

Taxonomic notes

Syn: L. sukaczewii (Dylis) 1981 (Cheng and Fu 1978); L. russica (Endl.) Sabine ex Trautv. 1884; L. decidua var. russica Henkel et W. Hochst. 1865; L. decidua var. sibirica (Ledebour) Regel; L. intermedia Fischer ex. Turczaninow; Pinus larix var. russica Endlicher; P. intermedia (Fischer) Turczaninow; P. ledebouri (Ruprecht) Endlicher; Abies ledebourii Ruprecht (Dallimore et al. 1967).

L. sukaczewii has been segregated from L. sibirica on the basis of morphological distinctions that vanish in some areas and are likely indicative of environmental rather than phylogenetic differences; thus it is here treated as a synonym, in accordance with its treatment by Milyutin and Vishnevetskaia (1995). It is found west of the Urals and in some western Siberian regions bordering the Urals. However, recent work by Bashalkhanov et al. (2003) using chloroplast DNA trnK intron sequences shows divergence between L. sukaczewii and L. sibirica that may support separating the taxa.

L. sibirica occupies habitats in Siberia from the Urals east to between the Yenisei River (in the N) and far E Irkutsk. There is a wide zone of hybridization with L. gmelinii (the hybrids sometimes called L. × czekanowski [Schmidt 1995]; see the "Remarks" section below for a fuller discussion). Before 1981, larches in the range of L. sukaczewii were divided into the subspecies L. sibirica ssp. rossica (Sab.) Suk. in N and NE portions of European Russia and L. sibirica ssp. obensis Suk. in the Ob River basin, excepting the Altai. Other subspecies sometimes encountered in the literature include L. sibirica ssp. altaica (Szafer) Suk. in the Altai, L. sibirica ssp. jeniseensis Suk. in the Jenisey River basin, L. sibirica ssp. sayanensis Dylis in the Sayans area, L. sibirica ssp. polaris in the upper Lena River basin and regions of Irkutsk Pryangarje, L. sibirica ssp. baicalensis Dylis along the SW and SE coasts of Lake Baikal, and L. sibirica ssp. transbaikalensis in the western Zabaikalje Mountains (Milyutin and Vishnevetskaia 1995).


"A tree [24-30 m] high, with a trunk up to [116 cm dbh] in Siberia. Bark as in the European larch. YOUNG SHOOTS more or less hairy, occasionally without down. BUDS rounded or conical, resinous, scales with ciliated margins. BUDS of short shoots surrounded by a dense ring of hairs. LEAVES [2.5-5 cm] or more in length, slender, sharp-pointed, deeply keeled on the under-surface. STROBILI very like those of L. decidua. CONES with fewer scales than in L. decidua; scales 4-sided, as long as broad, outer surface finely striate, hairy, bracts hidden by the scales. SEED and wing up to [13 mm] long. This species is very similar to L. decidua, differing chiefly in its more slender leaves ... and differently shaped cone-scales" (Dallimore et al. 1967).

Distribution and Ecology

Russia: Siberia (Silba 1986). Found at up to 74° N on the Taymyr Peninsula (var. kayanderi) (Vladimir Dinets e-mail 1998.01.02). "In Siberia it is said to occur as small groups mixed with other trees rather than as pure forest" (Dallimore et al. 1967). It has been planted for timber production in Finland and Sweden (Dallimore et al. 1967).

Big tree

Vladimir Dinets (e-mail 1998.01.02) reports exceptionally large specimens on the Kozhym River, Ural Mts. (48 m tall, 360 cm dbh) and the Bogd-Uul Mt., Mongolia (49 m tall, 300 cm dbh).


Tree OVL-5N in Ovoont, Mongolia had a crossdated age of 750 years. It was collected by Nachin, Brian Buckley, and Neil Pederson (RMTRR 2006).


Collections have been made, notably in the Urals (Graybill and Shiyatov 1992).


"Wood very similar to slow-grown European larch, and useful for the same purposes.

"Writing of the Russian larch in 1854, Simmonds says: 'From the boiled inner bark, mixed with rye flour, and afterwards buried for a few hours in the snow; the hardy Siberian hunters prepare a sort of leaven with which they supply the place of common leaven when the latter is destroyed, as it frequently is, by intense cold. The bark is nearly as valuable as oak bark. From the inner bark the Russians manufacture fine white gloves, not inferior to those made of the most delicate chamois, while they are stronger, cooler, and more pleasant to wear in the summer' " (Dallimore et al. 1967).



The nothospecies Larix ×czekanowskii Szafer 1913 (type: Russia, Tunguska River below mouth of Tomezoy River, A. Czekanovsky & F. Muller s.n.) is a product of natural hybridization between L. gmelinii and L. sibirica where their distributions are contiguous in a wide belt extending N to NW from Lake Baikal to the mouth of the Yenisei River. The species was named for a Polish geologist who studied the Lake Baikal basin in the 1860's and early 1860's, and who was its first collector. The trees are intermediate in character states between the two parent species, and this is particularly evident in their cones, which resemble those of L. gmelinii var. principis-rupprechtii. The species occurs on highly varied soils under a dry continental climate with extremely long and cold winters. It is a component of taiga forest with Picea obovata, Pinus sylvestris, Betula pendula, and Populus sp. Its wood is used in construction (e.g. traditional log houses), railroad ties, veneers, and as a source of pulp for paper (Farjon 2010).


Atlas Florae Europaeae. 1998. Computer program available for download at URL=, accessed 2009.04.17.

Bashalkhanov, S. I., Y. M. Konstantinov, D. S. Verbitskii and V. F. Kobzev. 2003. Reconstruction of phylogenetic relationships of larch Larix sukaczewii Dyl. based on chloroplast DNA trnK intron sequences. Russian Journal of Genetics 39(10): 1116-1120.

Graybill, Donald A., and S. G. Shiyatov. 1992. Dendroclimatic evidence from the northern Soviet Union. P. 393-414 in R.S. Bradley and P.D. Jones, eds., Climate since A.D. 1500. London: Routledge.

Ledebour, C. F. von. 1833. Flora Altaica, vol. IV. Berlin (p. 204).

Szafer, W. 1913. Larix x czekanowskii hybr. nov. Kosmos 38:1281-1322 (p. 1297).

See also

Last Modified 2017-12-29