ORDINARY LARCH CHEST (ANDROMEDA POLIFOLIA L.)
Family: heatherous (Ericaceae)
Common Larch is a small dwarf shrub (20—40 cm in height), about rising shoots. Leaves her, equilibrium-lanceolate, have a folded edge, underneath they are bluish white, dark green on top, they do not fall off for the winter.
Pale pink flowers, hanging on reddish peduncles, are gathered in an umbellate inflorescence. The barrel-shaped crown consists of fused 5-petals. Inside the crown is located 1 a post surrounded by 10 stamens, which have quite long anthers at the top, bristly horns. Pollen, as with all heathers, it is stuck together in tetrads.
The flowering time is in June and July. The flowers are adapted to the visits of insects with long mouth organs. The hairs covering the crown and the threads of the stamens protect the interior of the flower from the intrusion of uninvited guests. Only the ants sometimes manage to get inside the flower, where they wreak great havoc, biting the stamens and the neck of the pistil. Outside of entomogamy (pollination by insects) self-pollination may occur in larch wood.
The fruit is spherical, 5-chambered bag. The seeds are small and often germinate only after they have been lying in the ground for several years.
Larch tree, just like other heathers, lives in symbiosis with the fungus, whose hyphae overgrow the plant, going down to the seed coat. The embryo is free of them, but as it germinates, the fungus hyphae also penetrate it.
It is a common plant in our lowlands, found only in scattered positions in the mountains. Occurs in central and northern Europe; towards the south it is becoming rarer. It also grows in the Urals, Altai and Siberia, in western Greenland and in the northern part of North America.