Larch Hybrid

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Larch Hybrid

Post  bonsaisr on Sun Oct 16, 2011 3:31 pm

drgonzo wrote:I would also very much like to see what this tree looks like.
It looks like an American larch, but the needles have slight Japanese tendencies. Sorry, I don't think I have a picture that I know is the hybrid.
drgonzo wrote: If Bill has these for sale then was his stock cloned from other FLL trees?
Not at all. They are collected seedlings from various Upstate locations.
drgonzo wrote: Do we have to get clones from ONE specific plant to clone out true to THAT specific parent plant in order to make this work?
Yes. That is how you register a cultivar. It may be a species or hybrid. All you have to know is the genus.
drgonzo wrote:Tell me also why it's easier if we could find a mature specimen with a cone or in flower?
-Jay
That is the only way I can get a positive identification from a taxonomist to prove that the hybrid even exists. Also, I will need it to publish the botanical name.
There are numerous species of bamboo that never bloom (they are all one clone), or never bloom in cultivation, or bloom only once every 50 years. The taxonomists have a terrible time with them. You can't blame them for refusing to look at a plant without seeing the flowers or fruit. Larches are especially troublesome. Most American taxonomists, including those at the Forestry school, won't even touch them.
Iris
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Re: Larch Hybrid

Post  drgonzo on Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:03 pm

Ok, The first step for me will be acquiring a specimen so that I can clone from it, work with it as Bonsai, and have it as an exemplar to help me ID the tree in the wild as I go about my various woodland Treks. When I place my order for Hornbeam seedlings from Bill in December I'll ask after the Larches.

Thank you for all that information, I think it would be a lot of fun to assist in the recognition and naming process of a local hybrid I'm in to that kinda thing. I'm going to poke around for a picture of one, was it at the Rochester show you saw it? Maybe we can get ahold of the owner and get good pictures of the branches.
-Jay

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Larch Hybrid

Post  bonsaisr on Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:29 pm

Yes, I saw one at the BSUNY show. I don't know who owns it. This is not a good time to photograph a larch, IMO. They are getting ratty and the color is turning. I will get pictures of mine in the spring.
Why would you want to clone an ordinary specimen? Their value for bonsai is their individual yamadori character. I don't think they have any special appeal for landscaping. The yellow one, provided it is a predictable trait, is the only one I would clone. That particular specimen, unfortunately, is not good bonsai material, so I don't know what I will do with it in the long run.
Iris

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Larch Hybrid

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:37 am

Come to find out, apparently those names for the Bitterroot larch were never officially published. The only legitimate names for larch hybrids that I can find are old ones published in Europe. Larch taxonomy seems to be very tangled.
Iris

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Re: Larch Hybrid

Post  Vance Wood on Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:12 pm

The fact that you cannot find a cone or flower may in fact prove that this plant is hybrid. Sometimes a hybrid will prove to be steril and reproducable only from cloning.

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Larch Hybrid

Post  bonsaisr on Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:54 pm

Dr. Gonzo, Jay from Penn Yan (heart of the Finger Lakes) found one with cones, so we are trying to get a branch to the taxonomist at Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua. As you know, it is normal for even rather small larch pre-bonsai to cone in captivity. My American larch from Dave Easterbrook had cones when I got it. The Dunkeld larch produces cones, & I believe viable seeds. However, none of the collected specimens of Finger Lakes larch has ever had a cone. We saw some 15-year-old specimens growing in Livingston County, with nary a cone in sight. Jay's is probably older. This delayed puberty may well be a result of hybridization.
I hope this isn't a fool's errand. You have to wonder why the Bitterroot larch, which is well-known, has never had a legitimate botanical name published.
Another interesting fact is that while European larch has been planted in upstate NY, and is naturalized in at least two counties, nobody has ever reported finding Larix xpendula (L. decidua x laricina) anywhere.
Iris

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Re: Larch Hybrid

Post  drgonzo on Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:00 pm

"Dr. Gonzo, Jay from Penn Yan (heart of the Finger Lakes) found one with cones"

I got seeds off it too, I truly, truly hope its what we think it is...
-Jay

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Larch Hybrid Progress

Post  bonsaisr on Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:09 am

Today I took some branches of the Finger Lakes larch with cones to Prof. Robert Wesley at Cornell Plantations (Cornell's arboretum). For those in the far flung reaches, Cornell University is a very distinguished institution with an extensive horticultural branch (also a well-known veterinary college).
I also brought along my American larch bonsai for comparison and two potted specimens of the hybrid. I wanted to borrow a Japanese larch, but couldn't get hold of one. Fortunately, I had a clear photograph from Jay showing a twig of Japanese larch next to the hybrid. Prof. Wesley confirmed the hybrid's identity, based mainly on the fact that the hybrid shows the two stigmata stripes characteristic of Japanese larch, but they are very faint. He will put the sample in Cornell's herbarium, & they will become my type specimen.
Jay, Prof. W. needs the exact location of your tree, longitude & latitude if you have a way of getting that, or the nearest milepost on the road. Altitude will also help, if you know it.
My next step is to write a botanical description. Never did this before, but I learned how to write a PowerPoint at 79, so what the hey! Exclamation I will have to take a trip to Penn Yan in the spring for a personal interview with the tree.
Iris

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Re: Larch Hybrid

Post  drgonzo on Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:08 am

I do not own the property the tree is located on but I will contact the owners and let them know that the tree is of special interest. AND ask them not to cut it down (there should be no danger of that anyway)

The tree is located almost exactly on the town line between Potter and Jerusalem as that town line intersects with Bordwell Rd. that should be pretty clear on most maps. the elevation is the same as the bottom of my driveway which is 1200 ft above sea level.

THIS IS AWSOME! I'm so glad this worked out Iris. I would welcome you out to my home and garden in spring and We'll go see the tree together. I'm humbled and honored that I could be of help. I suppose now as I plant my seeds from this tree that I will simply call the resulting forest planting I was planning on creating-Finger Lakes Larch forest.

I knew those side by side pics would be useful!
-Jay

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Larch Hybrid

Post  bonsaisr on Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:59 pm

A digression into botany for those who are interested.
I finally got hold of the US Forest Service, a branch of the US Department of Agriculture. For information on native and naturalized plants of North America, go here:
http://plants.usda.gov/java/

I contacted the USFS Northern Region, which includes Montana. They sent me some interesting information on the Bitterroot Larch:
http://na.fs.fed.us/pubs/silvics_manual/Volume_1/larix/lyallii.htm

http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/tree/larlya/introductory.html

Apparently this hybrid has been very extensively studied and written up. I gather the only reason it has not been named is that nobody got around to it, or the Forest Service botanists didn't know that you are supposed to name natural hybrids. Rolling Eyes
One of the parents, the alpine larch, Larix lyallii, is especially interesting. It grows way up in the tallest Rockies at the tree-line, higher than any other larch in the world, where nothing else will grow. It is useful for wildlife habitat, afforestation, and even for beautifying rugged ski resorts. It is being studied by foresters in Europe and Asia for similar uses. No, I don't think anyone has ever tried it for bonsai. Laughing
The other parent, Larix occidentalis, lives lower down in the mountains, and farther west. The Bitterroot larch sprang up where their paths occasionally cross, and occupies an ecological niche partway up the mountains at an altitude between the two parents.
Iris

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Larch Hybrid

Post  bonsaisr on Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:28 pm

drgonzo wrote:I suppose now as I plant my seeds from this tree that I will simply call the resulting forest planting I was planning on creating-Finger Lakes Larch forest.
-Jay
Back to bonsai.
A bonsai forest of hybrid seedlings is a questionable idea. You can plant a group of bare-root seedlings of an old stable species like Carpinus turczaninowii, because they are pretty much genetically uniform. If you plant a forest of these larch seedlings, you may get a mishmash. I have seen a group of the collected seedlings at Bill's, and while the common ancestry is obvious, each specimen is a little different, especially the foliage. Since you are planting the f2 generation, they may be even more variable, due to the laws of segregation (Hello, Brother Mendel). Since you are adept at asexual reproduction, I suggest you clone the parent tree, or a selected one of the seedlings. You will probably get a better result from a bonsai point of view.
Iris

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Re: Larch Hybrid

Post  drgonzo on Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:32 pm

The thought had occurred to me that I might get some pretty wacky looking seedlings from this tree, I'm going to plant a good sized batch of seeds and see what I get. Any trees that look interesting and uniform I will keep and grow out for a "potential" forest planting or I may find one with somewhat shorter needles than the parent and work with it as a specimen, I already have a Japanese larch that satisfies my Larch cravings, but we'll see. The rest I intend to sprinkle here and there about my property where sadly I have no Larch at all.

By the way that Tree is the most beautiful deep orange right now, its a deeper color than the Tamaracks and Larches around here that go more toward the yellow side. When you drive down my road it looks like a lit torch in the distance. Beautifull tree. Let me see about snapping a picture of it when I go down to get the mail later.
-Jay

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Re: Larch Hybrid

Post  Kev Bailey on Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:16 pm

Plageotropism is exhibited by several species, Cedrus and Larix are a couple of good examples. Cuttings from branches will always grow as branches. Tip cuttings will grow as normal. This characteristic can be used to advantage to grow windswept and cascade styles, for example.

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Re: Larch Hybrid

Post  coh on Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:07 pm

I seem to recall reading somewhere that the cuttings will often eventually outgrow the plageotropism, i.e. they'll grow as branches for several years, then eventually revert back to upright growth. Maybe I'm remembering that wrong, or perhaps it varies by species? Anyone have direct experience with this? It's something that I've been wondering about for a while.

Chris

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Re: Larch Hybrid

Post  Brett Summers on Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:47 am

I have seen very large Juniperus X horizontalis A creeping type juiper that can look amazing hanging over large rock gardens in parks and they don't seem to lose thier horizontal growth

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