The genus Larix belongs to the pine family, and has 10 species and a large number of subspecies and hybrids. It is widely distributed across North America, Asia and Europe. Three species are endemic to North America and seven occur in Europe and Asia. In North America, L. occidentalis (western larch) and L. lyalli (Alpine larch) grow in subalpine regions whereas L. laricina L. (tamarack) is mainly restricted to boreal zones. In Europe, Larix decidua(European larch) constitutes the only species and is localised at the subalpine level. In North Asia, Larix russicaoften referred to as L. sibirica (Siberian larch) and L. gmelinii (Asian larch) dominate the Siberian forest landscape. Southern Asia accounts for a wide variety of Larix species ranging from the mountain conditions of L. mastersiana (Masters larch, southwestern China) to the high elevation forests of L. griffithiana (Sikkim larch) in the Himalayan Mountains (Nepal, Tibet) and L. potaninii (Chinese larch) in southwestern China to the island environment of L. kaempferi referred to as L. leptolepis (Japanese larch) in Japan (Schmidt 1992).
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