Cedrus (common English name cedar) is a genus of coniferous trees in
the plant family
Pinaceae (subfamily Abietoideae). They are native to
the mountains of the western
Himalayas and the Mediterranean region,
occurring at altitudes of 1,500–3,200 m in the
1,000–2,200 m in the Mediterranean.
2.1 Species and subspecies
6 See also
8 External links
Foliage of Atlas cedar
Cedrus trees can grow up to 30–40 m (occasionally 60 m)
tall with spicy-resinous scented wood, thick ridged or square-cracked
bark, and broad, level branches. The shoots are dimorphic, with long
shoots, which form the framework of the branches, and short shoots,
which carry most of the leaves. The leaves are evergreen and
needle-like, 8–60 mm long, arranged in an open spiral
phyllotaxis on long shoots, and in dense spiral clusters of 15–45
together on short shoots; they vary from bright grass-green to dark
green to strongly glaucous pale blue-green, depending on the thickness
of the white wax layer which protects the leaves from desiccation. The
seed cones are barrel-shaped, 6–12 cm long and 3–8 cm
broad, green maturing grey-brown, and, as in Abies, disintegrate at
maturity to release the winged seeds. The seeds are 10–15 mm
long, with a 20–30 mm wing; as in Abies, the seeds have two or
three resin blisters, containing an unpleasant-tasting resin, thought
to be a defence against squirrel predation. Cone maturation takes one
year, with pollination in autumn and the seeds maturing the same time
a year later. The pollen cones are slender ovoid, 3–8 cm long,
produced in late summer, and shedding pollen in autumn.
Cedars share a very similar cone structure with the firs (Abies) and
were traditionally thought to be most closely related to them, but
molecular evidence supports a basal position in the family.
Species and subspecies
The five taxa of
Cedrus are assigned according to taxonomic opinion to
between one and four different
Cedrus atlantica —
Atlas cedar (syn. C. l. atlantica), Atlas
Morocco and Algeria, leaves dark green to glaucous
blue-green, 10–25 mm
Cedrus brevifolia —
Cyprus cedar (syn. C. l. brevifolia, C. libani
var. brevifolia), mountains of Cyprus, leaves glaucous blue-green,
Cedrus deodara (syn. C. l. deodara) — deodar or deodar cedar, native
to Western Himalaya, leaves are bright green to pale glaucous green,
25–60 mm; cones have slightly ridged scales
Cedrus libani —
Lebanon cedar or cedar of Lebanon, native to
Mediterranean region mountains in
Near East and Turkey, cones have
smooth scales; two (or up to four) subspecies:
C. l. libani —
Lebanon cedar, mountains of Lebanon, western Syria,
and south-central Turkey, leaves dark green to glaucous blue-green,
C. l. stenocoma — Turkish cedar, mountains of southwest Turkey,
leaves glaucous blue-green, 8–25 mm
A cedar in Lebanon
Cedars are adapted to mountainous climates; in the Mediterranean, they
receive winter precipitation, mainly as snow, and summer drought,
while in the western Himalaya, they receive primarily summer monsoon
Cedars are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera
species including pine processionary and turnip moth (recorded on
Cedrus atlantica trained as a bonsai
Cedar wood has a woody, slightly sweet scent, and a distinctive colour
Cedars are very popular ornamental trees, widely used in horticulture
in temperate climates where winter temperatures do not fall below
about −25 °C. The Turkish cedar is slightly hardier, to
−30 °C or just below. Extensive mortality of planted specimens
can occur in severe winters where temperatures do drop lower.
Areas with successful long-term cultivation include the entire
Mediterranean region, western Europe north to the British Isles,
southern Australia and New Zealand, and southern and western North
Cedar wood and cedar oil are known to be a natural repellent to
moths, hence cedar is a popular lining for modern-day cedar chests
and closets in which woolens are stored. This specific use of cedar is
The Iliad (Book 24), referring to the cedar-roofed or
lined storage chamber where Priam goes to fetch treasures to be used
as ransom. However, the species typically used for cedar chests and
closets in North America is Juniperus virginiana, which is different
from the true cedars (note also common confusion with
below). Cedar is also commonly used to make shoe trees as it can
absorb moisture and deodorise.
Many species of cedar trees are suitable for training as bonsai. They
work well with many styles, including formal and informal upright,
slanting, and cascading.
In North America, species of the genus Thuja, such as western red
cedar, are commonly — though mistakenly — confused with
genuine cedar, as is J. virginiana, typically known as red cedar or
eastern red cedar. While some naturalized species of cedar (Cedrus,
the true cedars) can be found in the Americas, no species is native.
Both the Latin word cedrus and the generic name cedrus are derived
from Greek κέδρος kédros. Ancient Greek and Latin used the same
word, kédros and cedrus, respectively, for different species of
plants now classified in the genera
Cedrus and Juniperus (juniper).
Species of both genera are native to the area where
Greek language and
culture originated, though as the word kédros does not seem to be
derived from any of the languages of the Middle East, it has been
suggested the word may originally have applied to Greek species of
juniper and was later adopted for species now classified in the genus
Cedrus because of the similarity of their aromatic woods. The name
was similarly applied to citron and the word citrus is derived from
the same root. However, as a loan word in English, cedar had
become fixed to its biblical sense of
Cedrus by the time of its first
recorded usage in AD 1000.
The name "cedar" has more recently (since about 1700) been applied
to many other trees (such as western red cedar; in some cases the
botanical name alludes to this usage, such as the genus Calocedrus
(meaning "beautiful cedar"), also known as incense cedar). Such usage
is regarded by some authorities  as a misapplication of the name
to be discouraged.
Cedars of God
^ a b c d Farjon, A. (1990). Pinaceae. Drawings and Descriptions of
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^ Frankis, M. & Lauria, F. (1994). The maturation and dispersal of
cedar cones and seeds. International Dendrology Society Yearbook 1993:
^ Liston A., D.S. Gernandt, T.F. Vining, C.S. Campbell, D. Piñero.
2003. Molecular Phylogeny of
Pinaceae and Pinus. In Mill, R.R. (ed.):
Proceedings of the 4th
Conifer Congress. Acta Hort 615: Pp. 107-114.
^ Wang, X.-Q., Tank, D. C. and Sang, T. (2000): Phylogeny and
Divergence Times in Pinaceae: Evidence from Three Genomes. Molecular
Biology and Evolution 17:773-781. Available online
^ Gymnosperm database Cedrus.
^ NCBI Taxonomy Browser Cedrus.
Flora of China
Flora of China vol. 4
^ Qiao, C.-Y., Jin-Hua Ran, Yan Li and Xiao-Quan Wang (2007):
Phylogeny and Biogeography of
Cedrus (Pinaceae) Inferred from
Sequences of Seven Paternal Chloroplast and Maternal Mitochondrial DNA
Regions. Annals of Botany 100(3):573-580. Available online
^ Farjon, A. (2008). A Natural History of Conifers. Timber Press
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Cedrus brevifolia (Hook.) Henry. Mediterranean Agronomic
Institute of Chania, Greece.
^ GRIN Taxonomy for Plants Cedrus.
^ Güner, A., Özhatay, N., Ekim, T., & Başer, K. H. C. (ed.).
2000. Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands 11 (Supplement 2):
5–6. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 0-7486-1409-5
^ Eckenwalder, J. E. (2009). Conifers of the World: The Complete
Reference. Timber Press ISBN 0-88192-974-3.
^ Sell, P. D. (1990). Some new combinations in the British Flora.
Watsonia 18: 92.
^ Ødum, S. (1985). Report on frost damage to trees in Denmark after
the severe 1981/82 and 1984/85 winters. Hørsholm Arboretum, Denmark.
^ Burfield, Tony (September 2002). "Cedarwood Oils".
www.users.globalnet.co.uk. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
^ Walston, Brent. "Cedars for Bonsai". evergreengardenworks.com.
Retrieved 8 May 2015.
^ Meiggs, R. 1982. Trees and Timber in the Ancient Mediterranean
^ Andrews, A. C. 1961. Acclimatization of citrus fruits in the
Mediterranean region. Agricultural History 35: 35–46.
^ a b Oxford English Dictionary.
^ Kelsey, H. P., & Dayton, W. A. (1942). Standardized
second edition. American Joint Committee on Horticultural
Nomenclature. Horace McFarland Company, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Media related to
Cedrus at Wikimedia Commons
Genera of the
Bow and arrow
Cedar (Calocedrus, Cedrus)
Linden (lime, basswood)
Crown of thorns
Mortise and tenon
Tongue and groove
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Architectural Woodwork Institute
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