The Gymnosperm Database


Distribution: Cedrus atlantica in red, C. brevifolia in blue and C. libani in purple (Vidakovic 1991).


"Cedrus libani 'glauca', autochthone stand, Ciglikara Ormani in the vicinity of Elmali, Turkey, at 1900 m elevation" (Vidakovic 1991).


Cedrus deodara in Chitral Gol National Park, Pakistan [Vladimir Dinets, 2004.10].


Foliage and dehiscent cones on an ornamental specimen in Seattle (USA) [C.J. Earle, 1999.02].


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Trew 1757

Common names

Cedar [English]; Κέδρος [Greek]; الأرز [Arabic]; cedro [Italian, Spanish]; ཐང་ཁྲག [Tibetan]; sedir [Turkish]. A great many species in the Cupressaceae are also commonly referred to as cedars (in English), so species of Cedrus are sometimes called 'true cedars'.

Taxonomic notes

A genus of two to four species, of which C. deodara is generally agreed to be sister to a clade containing the other three taxa. Those taxa are here treated as species, viz.:


"Evergreen, tall, monoecious trees. Crown broad with erect or bent top. Branches not in whorls. Bark on young trees smooth and gray, eventually furrowed and scaly, dark gray. Shoots of two kinds: long terminal shoots bearing solitary and spirally arranged needles, and short shoots with tufts of needles. Buds small, ovate, enveloped with few scales. Leaves persisting for 3-6 years, on short shoots tough, acuminate, 3-sided with 2 marginal resin ducts. Flowers in inflorescences, terminal on the short shoots, appearing during late July and August, fully developed during late September and early October; male flowers in erect catkins, up to 5 cm long, pollen grains golden-yellow, wingless; female flowers in erect, 1-1.5 cm long cone-like inflorescences, reddish, ovate, composed of numerous scales and surrounded by needles at the base. Cones erect, ovate to cylindrical, 5-10 cm long, maturing in the second or third year when they break up; seed scales closely overlapping, broader than long, woody, each with 2 ovules at the base; bract scales invisible. Seed large, irregularly triangular, light brown, resinous, with a large wing. Cotyledons 8-10. Chromosomes n=12" (Vidakovic 1991).

Distribution and Ecology

Mountains of the S and SE Mediterranean and the W Himal (Vidakovic 1991).

Big tree

Cedrus deodara attains sizes over 450 cm DBH, the largest stem diamater recorded in the Pinaceae. Three species vie for the tallest specimen: 45 m for C. deodara, 43 m for C. libani and 45.6 m for C. atlantica. Given the paucity of data, any of these species may qualify as the tallest.


There are few data for any of the species, and as is often the case, the oldest ages have the lowest reliability. It seems that C. deodara may attain 900 years. Ages of over 1,000 years have been reported for C. libani, but without supporting data.


Some work has been done with both C. atlantica and C. deodara. As of 2007.11, I have found no records of work on the other species.


All species are used in construction and cabinetry, and all are widely planted as ornamentals in temperate areas. C. libani probably has the greatest cultural importance, having been used and revered within its range for millennia.


See the species accounts. All species are widely planted in arboreta and botanical gardens.


Κέδρος is the Greek name for a resinous tree (Vidakovic 1991).


Trew, C.J. 1757. Cedrorum libani historia cum illo Laricis, Abietus Pinique comparatus. Nurnberg.

See also

Last Modified 2017-12-29