‘Autumn colours’: Part four

This short post is part of a series focusing on autumn colours.

Featured in the photo accompanying this post are the yellowing needles of the European larch. The tree that was photographed is not diseased or malnourished; rather, it is merely in the process of drawing nutrients out of the needles before they are shed for the winter. Larches are unusual among the conifers in being deciduous rather than evergreen.

Larch was native to Britain before the last ice age. However, after the last ice age, the tree did not naturally recolonize Britain from ‘refugia’ to the south before the North Sea rose and cut Britain off from the European continental land mass. As such, it is considered a non-native species. Despite this, it is a beneficial tree for wildlife, with its seeds feeding birds such as siskins and lesser redpolls and its plant tissue also offering food for a diversity of insects.