Cedars

Cedar-of-Lebanon Atlas Cedar Deodar Cedar Deodar Cedar

What are they?

The word 'cedar' (much like 'fir' and 'cypress') has been much used and seemingly abused as a name for a a wide range of coniferous plants, from junipers to cypresses. This is probably because those who give coloquial names to plants are not always botanists and plants may often be named for qualities they possess. In the case of 'cedar' trees tend to be defined by having reddish, highly fragrant wood - a quality found in a wide range of conifers. Members of the genus Cedrus should be considered the true cedars and this small group of just three species includes the providers of the magnificent cedarwood that went into the construction of incredible Moorish architecture in North Africa and southern Spain.

Where are they found?

Cedars are found in rocky and mountainous country from NW Africa, eastward through the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor to the western Himalayas. In Britain, these stately and magnificent trees have been popular additions to the lawns of stately homes for the past 300 years and are commonly encountered in parks, cemeteries and other open spaces.

Identification

Cedars resemble pines in having their needles in bunches, but the bunches are greater in number and the needles shorter. The trees typically develop wide, spreading crowns with age and massive trunks which are often multi-stemmed. The Deodar Cedar is fairly easy to tell due to its gracefully arching habit and its long needles, but Cedar-of-Lebanon and Atlas Cedar can be difficult to tell apart and there is even some suggestion that they may best be considered merely subspecies of a single species. Details of the overall growth style and minute details of the needle tip separate many plants, but some seem to fall inbetween. Cones typically break apart on the tree but are often carried low down so can be studied relatively easily.



Atlas Cedar      Cedrus atlantica

Introduced from NW Africa. Common on large estates, parks and open spaces. Blue colour forms and weeping forms are popular as garden ornamentals. Growth style typically with a single trunk, occasionally multi-stemmed if growing tip is damaged. Outer branches typically ascending at their tips. Needles either rich, dark green or strongly glaucous-blue in colour, averaging 1.5-2cm in length and tapered to a translucent tip of around 0.5mm in length. Mature cone 5-8cm.

Atlas Cedar Atlas Cedar Atlas Cedar Atlas Cedar
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Atlas Cedar Atlas Cedar Atlas Cedar Atlas Cedar
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Cedar-of-Lebanon      Cedrus libani

Introduced from Middle East and Asia Minor. Common on large estates, parks and open spaces. Growth style typically multistemmed, with the trunk forking low down. Outer branches typically more or less level at their tips. Needles mid to dark green in colour, averaging 1.5-2.5cm in length and abruptly tapered to a tiny translucent tip of around 0.2mm in length. Mature cone 7-10cm.

Cedar-of-Lebanon Cedar-of-Lebanon Cedar-of-Lebanon Cedar-of-Lebanon
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Deodar Cedar      Cedrus deodara

Introduced from the western Himalayas. Frequent in parks, cemeteries and open spaces. Growth style typically with a single trunk. Outer branches typically clearly drooping at their tips. Needles bright, fresh green in colour, averaging 3-3.5cm in length and tapered to a tiny translucent tip of around 0.4mm or less in length. Mature cone 8-12cm but less often produced than in the other two species.

Deodar Cedar Deodar Cedar Deodar Cedar Deodar Cedar
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Deodar Cedar Deodar Cedar Deodar Cedar
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