Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Pinopsida - Order: Pinales - Family: Pinaceae
The European larch, a deciduous pine tree, was introduced into Britain in the 17th century. Some 200 years later the faster-growing Japanese Larch, with which it is often confused, was brought to Britain.
The male cones (above) are very small and often go unnoticed, while the almost-spherical female cones (below) are purple and green at first.
As the seed-bearing female cones develop they turn olive-green (see below) and eventually brown.
When seen in winter, the bark of a larch tree is not very different from some other conifers, but the absence of green needles (larches are deciduous) is a valuable clue; and in springtime the distinctive groups of needles are a helpful identification feature.