The branchlets of the cedar take the same direction as the branches, and the foliage is very dense.
Both bear their round or ovoid male catkins at the ends of the slender terminal branchlets; the ovoid cones, either terminal or on short lateral twigs, have thick woody scales dilated at the extremity, with a broad disk depressed in the centre and usually furnished with a short spine; at the base of the scales are from three to seven ovules, which become reversed or partially so by compression, ripening into small angular seed with a narrow wing-like expansion.
The members of the genus Larix are distinguished from the firs, with which they were formerly placed, by their deciduous leaves, scattered singly, as in Abies, on the young shoots of the season, but on all older branchlets growing in whorl-like tufts, each surrounding the extremity of a rudimentary or abortive branch; they differ from cedars (Cedrus), which also have the fascicles of leaves on arrested branchlets, not only in the deciduous leaves, but in the cones, the scales of which are thinner towards the apex, and are persistent, remaining attached long after the seeds are discharged.
Europaea) is, when grown in perfection, a stately tree with tall erect trunk, gradually tapering from root to summit, and horizontal branches springing at irregular intervals from the stem, and in old trees often becoming more or less drooping, but rising again towards the extremities; the branchlets or side shoots, very slender and pendulous, are pretty thickly studded with the spurs each bearing a fascicle of thirty or more narrow linear leaves, of a peculiar bright light green when they first appear in the spring, but becoming of a deeper hue when mature.
When springing up among rocks or on ledges, the stem sometimes becomes much curved, and, with its spreading boughs and pendent branchlets, often forms a striking and picturesque object in alpine passes and steep ravines.