Cedrus elegans Knight
Cedrus libani, commonly known as the Cedar of
Lebanon or Lebanon
cedar, is a species of cedar native to the mountains of the Eastern
Mediterranean basin. It is an evergreen conifer that can reach
40 m (130 ft) in height. It is the national emblem of
Lebanon and is widely used as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens.
3 Distribution and habitat
4 History and symbolism
4.1 National and regional significance
5.1 Horticultural use
5.2 Other uses
6 Ecology and conservation
7 Diseases and pests
8 See also
11 External links
Cedrus libani foliage
Cedrus libani is an evergreen coniferous tree, it can reach 40 m
(130 ft) in height with a massive monopodial columnar trunk up to
2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) in diameter. The trunks of old
trees ordinarily fork into several large, erect branches. The rough
and scaly bark is dark grey to blackish brown, it is run through by
deep horizontal fissures that peel in small chips. The first-order
branches are ascending in young trees; they grow to a massive size and
take on a horizontal, wide-spreading disposition. Second-order
branches are dense and grow in a horizontal plane. The crown is
conical when young, becoming broadly tabular with age with fairly
level branches; trees growing in dense forests maintain a more
pyramidal shape. The shoots are dimorphic, with both long and short
shoots. New shoots are pale brown, older shoots turn grey, grooved and
scaly. C. libani has slightly resinous ovoid vegetative buds measuring
2 to 3 mm (0.079 to 0.118 in) long and 1.5 to 2 mm
(0.059 to 0.079 in) wide enclosed by pale brown deciduous scales.
The leaves are needle-like, arranged in spirals and concentrated at
the proximal end of the long shoots, and in clusters of 15-35 on the
short shoots; they are 5 to 35 mm (0.20 to 1.38 in) long and
1 to 1.5 mm (0.039 to 0.059 in) wide, rhombic in
cross-section, and vary from light green to glaucous green with
stomatal bands on all four sides.
Cedrus libani produces cones
at around the age of 40; it flowers in autumn, the male cones appear
in early September and the female ones in late September. Male
cones occur at the ends of the short shoots; they are solitary and
erect approximately 4 to 5 cm (1.6 to 2.0 in) long and
mature from a pale green to a pale brown color. The female seed cones
also grow at the terminal ends of short shoots. The young seed cones
are resinous, sessile and pale green; they require 17 to 18 months
after pollination to mature. The mature woody cones are 8 to
12 cm (3.1 to 4.7 in) long and 3 to 6 cm (1.2 to
2.4 in) wide; they are scaly, resinous, ovoid or barrel shaped
and gray-brown in color. Mature cones open from top to bottom, they
disintegrate and lose their seed scales releasing the seeds until only
the cone rachis remains attached to the branches. The seed
scales are thin, broad and coriaceous measuring 3.5 to 4 cm (1.4
to 1.6 in) long and 3 to 3.5 cm (1.2 to 1.4 in) wide.
The seeds are ovoid, 10 to 14 mm (0.39 to 0.55 in) long and
4 to 6 mm (0.16 to 0.24 in) wide, attached to a light brown
wedge-shaped wing that's 20 to 30 mm (0.79 to 1.18 in) long
and 15 to 18 mm (0.59 to 0.71 in) wide.
grows rapidly until the age of 45 to 50 years; growth becomes
extremely slow after the age of 70 years.
Lebanon female cone showing flecks of resin
Cedrus is the Latin name for true cedars. The specific epithet
Lebanon mountain range where the species was first
described by French botanist Achille Richard; the tree is commonly
known as the
Lebanon cedar or Cedar of Lebanon. There are two
distinct types that are recognized as varieties: C. libani var. libani
and C. libani var. brevifolia.
C. libani var. libani:
Lebanon cedar, cedar of
Lebanon – grows in
Lebanon, western Syria, and south central Turkey. C. libani var.
stenocoma (the Taurus cedar) considered a subspecies in earlier
literature, is now recognized as an ecotype of C. libani var. libani.
It usually has a spreading crown that doesn't flatten. This distinct
morphology is a habit that's assumed to cope with the competitive
environment since the tree occurs in dense stands mixed with the
tall-growing Abies cilicica, or in pure stands of young cedar
C. libani var. brevifolia: The
Cyprus cedar occurs on the island's
Troodos Mountains. This taxon was considered a separate species
from C.libani because of morphological and ecophysiological tratit
differences. It is characterized by slow growth, shorter
needles and higher tolerance to drought and aphids. Genetic
relationship studies however did not recognize C. brevifolia as a
separate species, the markers being undistinguishable from those of C.
Distribution and habitat
Cedrus libani var. libani is endemic to elevated mountains around the
Eastern Mediterranean in Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey. The tree grows in
well-drained calcareous lithosols on rocky, north- and west-facing
slopes and ridges and thrives in rich loam or a sandy clay in full
sun. Its natural habitat is characterized by warm, dry summers
and cool, moist winters with an annual precipitation of 1,000 to
1,500 mm (39 to 59 in); the trees are blanketed by a heavy
snow cover at the higher altitudes. In
Turkey it occurs
most abundantly at altitudes of 1,300 to 3,000 m (4,300 to
9,800 ft), where it forms pure forests or mixed forests with
Cilician fir (Abies cilicica), European black pine (Pinus nigra), East
Mediterranean pine (Pinus brutia) and several juniper species. In
Turkey it can occur as low as 500 m (1,600 ft).
Cedrus libani var. brevifolia grows in similar conditions on medium to
high mountains in
Cyprus from altitudes ranging from 900 to
1,525 m (2,953 to 5,003 ft).
History and symbolism
Male cone of cedar of Lebanon
Lebanon Cedar is mentioned several times in the Old Testament.
Hebrew priests were ordered by
Moses to use the bark of the Lebanon
cedar in the treatment of leprosy.
Solomon also procured cedar
timber to build the Temple in Jerusalem. The Hebrew prophet Isaiah
Lebanon cedar as a metaphor for the pride of the world,
with the tree explicitly mentioned near the end of
Psalm 92 as a
symbol of the righteous.
National and regional significance
Lebanon cedar is the national emblem of Lebanon, and is displayed
on the flag of
Lebanon and coat of arms of Lebanon. It is also the
Middle East Airlines
Middle East Airlines (MEA), which is Lebanon's national
carrier. Beyond that, it is also the main symbol of Lebanon's "Cedar
Revolution" of 2005, along with many Lebanese political parties and
movements, such as the Kataeb Party, the Lebanese Forces, the National
Liberal Party, and the Future Movement. Finally,
Lebanon is sometimes
metonymically referred to as the Land of the Cedars.
The Lebanese flag, with the
Lebanon cedar in the middle
Lebanon cedar is widely planted as an ornamental tree in parks and
It is unknown when the first cedar of
Lebanon was planted in Britain,
but it dates at least to 1664, when it is mentioned in Sylva, or A
Discourse of Forest-Trees and the Propagation of Timber. In
Britain, cedars of
Lebanon are known for their use in London's
Cedrus libani has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of
Garden Merit (confirmed 2017).
Cedar wood is very prized for its fine grain, attractive yellow color
and fragrance. It is exceptionally durable and immune to insect
ravages. Wood from C. libani has a density of 560 kg/m³; it is
used for furniture, construction and handicrafts. In Turkey,
shelterwood cutting and clearcutting techniques are used to harvest
timber and promote uniform forest regeneration. Cedar resin (cedria)
and cedar essential oil (cedrum) are prized extracts from the timber
and cones of the cedar tree.
Ecology and conservation
Historically, there were various attempts at conserving the Lebanon
cedars. The first was made by the
Roman emperor Hadrian; he created an
imperial forest and ordered it marked by inscribed boundary stones,
two of which are in the museum of the American University of
Over the centuries, extensive deforestation has occurred, with only
small remnants of the original forests surviving.
been particularly severe in
Lebanon and on Cyprus; on Cyprus, only
small trees up to 25 m (82 ft) tall survive, though Pliny
the Elder recorded cedars 40 m (130 ft) tall there.
Extensive reforestation of cedar is carried out in the Mediterranean
region. In Turkey, over 50 million young cedars are planted annually;
covering an area of approximately 300 square kilometres (74,000
acres). Lebanese cedar populations are also expanding through
an active program combining replanting and protection of natural
regeneration from browsing goats, hunting, forest fires, and
woodworms. The Lebanese approach emphasizes natural regeneration
by creating proper growing conditions. The Lebanese state has created
several reserves including the Chouf Cedar Reserve, the Jaj Cedar
Reserve, the Tannourine Reserve, the Ammouaa and Karm Shbat Reserves
in the Akkar district, and the
Forest of the
Cedars of God
Cedars of God near
Diseases and pests
Cedrus libani is susceptible to a number of soil-borne, foliar and
stem pathogens. The seedlings are prone to fungal attacks. Botrytis
cinerea, a necrotrophic fungus that is known to cause considerable
damage to food crops, attacks the cedar needles causing them to turn
yellow and drop.
Armillaria mellea (commonly known as honey fungus) is
a basidiomycete that fruits in dense clusters at the base of trunks or
stumps and attacks the roots of cedars growing in wet soils. The
Lebanese cedar shoot moth (Parasyndemis cedricola) is a species of
moth of the family
Tortricidae found in the forests of
Turkey; its larvae feed on young cedar leaves and buds.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Lebanon cedar forest that was home to the gods in
Ancient Mesopotamian religion.
Cedars of God
Cedars of God - an old-growth
Cedrus libani forest and World Heritage
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Cedrus libani - information, genetic conservation units and related
Forest Genetic Resources Programme (EUFORGEN)
Plant List: kew-2707327