This coniferous tree is 30-120' tall, forming an unbranched central trunk with numerous lateral branches. Young trees typically have conical crowns, while older trees are more oblongoid and irregular. Trunk bark of mature trees is brownish or reddish gray and flaky, forming irregular fissures; branch bark is more smooth and gray. First-year twigs (typically 4-20" long) are pale yellow with alternate leaves, while second-year twigs are gray to grayish brown with clusters of 30-60 leaves. Both types of leaves are about ¾-1¼" long, needle-like in shape, and deciduous. During the spring, the leaves are light green, but they later become more dark during the summer. During the fall, they turn yellow before falling to the ground. On second-year twigs, the leaf clusters are produced on short spur-twigs less than 1/8 long. In each cluster, the leaves are joined together at the base, from which they spread outward in all directions. European Larch is monoecious, forming both pollen cones and seed cones on the same tree. These cones are located toward the tips of second-year twigs during the spring. At this time of year, the small pollen cones are globoid-ovoid in shape and yellow, while the larger seed cones are ovoid in shape and dark red to reddish purple. Pollen cones consist of male (staminate) flowers and their scales, while seed cones consist of female (pistillate) flowers and their scales. The cones are cross-pollinated by the wind. Afterwards, the pollen cones wither away, while the seed cones continue to develop until they become mature during the fall. Mature seed cones are ¾-1½" long and ovoid-oblong in shape; they are initially green from overlapping pubescent scales, but they later become dark brown and hairless. The seed cones are held more or less erect and can persist on a tree for more than one year, even after the seeds have been dispersed. Behind each scale of the seed cone, there is a broad membranous bract; this bract is shorter than the scale. In addition to the bract, there is a pair of seeds at the base of each scale. These seeds have elongated wings and they are dispersed by the wind. The root system is woody and relatively deep.