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The larch.


From early modern German Larche, Lärche, from Middle High German larche, from Old High German larihha, early borrowing from Latin larix, itself possibly of Gaulish origin. In the first century AD, Vitruvius wrote that the tree was given the Latin name "larigna" when the Romans discovered it at the town of Larignum.



larch (plural larches)

  1. (countable) A coniferous tree, of genus Larix, having deciduous leaves, in fascicles.
    • 1665, John Rea, Flora, London: J.G. Marriott, Book III, Chapter 20, pp. 235-236,[1]
      The Larch-tree, with us, groweth slowly, and to be found in few places; it hath a rugged bark, and boughts that branch in good order, with divers small yellowish bunched eminences, set thereon at several distances, from whence tufts of many small, long, and narrow smooth leaves do yearly come forth; it beareth among the green leaves many beautiful flowers, which are of a fine crimson colour []
    • 1716, Nicholas Rowe (translator), The Ninth Book of Lucan in John Dryden, Miscellany Poems, London: Jacob Tonson, Volume 6, p. 67,[2]
      The Gummy Larch-Tree, and the Thapsos there,
      Wound-wort and Maiden-weed, perfume the Air.
    • 1855, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Song of Hiawatha, Book 7,[3]
      Thus the Birch Canoe was builded / In the valley, by the river, / In the bosom of the forest; / And the forest’s life was in it, / All its mystery and its magic, / All the lightness of the birch-tree, / All the toughness of the cedar, / All the larch’s supple sinews;
    • 1924, Radclyffe Hall, The Unlit Lamp, Chapter 5, Part 1,[4]
      Joan was thinking: ‘She looks like a tree [] it must be the green dress. But her eyes are like water, all greeny and shadowy and deep looking—a tree near a pool, that’s what she’s like, a tall tree. A beech tree? No, that’s too spready—a larch tree, that’s Elizabeth; a larch tree just greening over.'
  2. (uncountable) The wood of the larch.
    • 1916, Arthur Ransome, “The Christening in the Village” in Old Peter’s Russian Tales,[5]
      Old Peter was up early too, harnessing the little yellow horse into the old cart. The cart was of rough wood, without springs, like a big box fixed on long larch poles between two pairs of wheels. The larch poles did instead of springs, bending and creaking, as the cart moved over the forest track.


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