A fast-growing tree that establishes itself rapidly and is also said to improve the quality of the soil, the larch can be used as a pioneer species on cleared and exposed land in order to assist the establishment of other woodland trees. The bark contains tannin. This is much utilized in N. Europe, though in Britain the oak is considered to be a better source. On a 10% moisture basis, the bark contains 11.6% tannin.Wood - durable, tough, elastic, easy to split, takes a good polish. Larch produces one of the toughest woods obtained from conifers and is also resistant to woodworm. It is widely used in construction, for railway sleepers, cabinet work etc.
The turpentine obtained from the resin is antiseptic, balsamic, diuretic, haemostatic, rubefacient and vermifuge. It is a valuable remedy in the treatment of kidney, bladder and rheumatic affections, and also in diseases of the mucous membranes and the treatment of respiratory complaints. Other reports say that it is contraindicated for anyone with a kidney complaint. Externally, the turpentine is used in the form of liniment plasters and inhalers. It has also been suggested for combating poisoning by cyanide or opium.The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are 'Lack of confidence', 'Anticipation of failure' and 'Despondency'.
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The larch is a very ornamental tree that is widely grown for forestry. It is very fast growing with new annual growth of 1.5 metres often found and trees can average 60cm or more for many years. The dormant trees are very cold hardy, but they are often excited into premature growth in Britain by mild spells during the winter, the plants are then subject to damage by late frosts and cold winds. The young shoots have a delicate mossy fragrance as the leaves unfold. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Open ground plants, 1 year x 1 year are the best for planting out, do not use container grown plants with spiralled roots. Plants transplant well, even when coming into growth in the spring.Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
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