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A tree up to 60 ft high in the wild, resembling the common larch in habit but with more markedly pendulous branches; young shoots downy. Leaves 1 to 11⁄4in. long, light green. From other larches L. griffithii is well distinguished by the large size of its purplish cones, which are 21⁄2 to 3 in. long, 1 to 11⁄4 in. in diameter, cylindrical, slightly tapering towards the top; scales roundish obovate, straight cut across the top, downy outside; bracts yellowish, longer than the scales, the awl-like apex much reflexed, at least when young. Bot. Mag., t. 8181.
Native of the E. Himalaya at 8,000 to 13,000 ft; discovered by Dr Griffith during his botanical explorations of Sikkim and Bhutan. Sir Joseph Hooker sent seeds to Kew in 1848 from E. Nepal and from these plants were raised and widely distributed, but most succumbed to frost or to larch aphis. One survivor from this sending still grows at Strete Ralegh, Devon, and measures 62 × 71⁄4 ft (1964); another old tree at Coldrenick, Cornwall, mentioned in previous editions, is 71 × 6 ft (1957). A seedling of the Strete Ralegh tree, planted at Hergest Croft, Heref., in 1920, measures 62 × 3 ft (1963).
This species was named by the younger Hooker in his Himalayan Journal, without a description. Although there is no doubt about the identity of the larch he saw during his journeys in east Nepal and Sikkim, the name is technically invalid and has to be replaced by L. griffithiana Carr. (June 1855), which has slight priority over the first valid publication of the name L. griffithii (July 1855).