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A very large tree photographed on Mt. Babor in Algeria (Barbey 1934). For this and similar photos see "Foreste & Dintorni" by Enrico Rovelli.


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


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


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Conservation status

Cedrus atlantica

(Endl.) G.Manetti ex Carrière 1855

Common names

Atlas cedar (Vidakovic 1991).

Taxonomic notes

Syn: C. africana Gord. ex Knight; C. libani var. atlantica Hort.ex Carr. (Vidakovic 1991).


"A tree up to 40 m high and up to 2 m in diameter. BARK on old trees fissured. CROWN pyramidal, with few branches, open. BRANCHES strongly ascending and relatively short; leading shoot erect and bent at the tip. SHOOTS thickly pubescent. LEAVES silvery bluish or green, usually not longer than 2.5 cm, between 19 and 28 in a whorl. FLOWERS appearing from June to September. CONES cylindrical, with level or concave top, 5-7 cm long, up to 4 cm wide, glossy, light brown, maturing in September and October and shedding seeds into the spring; seed scales about 3.5 cm wide, with tomentose keel. SEED 12 mm long and wing 12-15 mm long" (Vidakovic 1991).

Distribution and Ecology

Morocco & Algeria: the Atlas and Riff Mountains, 1000-2000 m, where it forms monspecific stands (Vidakovic 1991). Hardy to Zone 7 (cold hardiness limit between -17.7°C and -12.2°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

Big tree

A specimen 382 cm dbh and 30 m tall is recorded in Parco Castello, Piemonte, Montalenghe, TO, Italy. Another, 181 cm dbh and 40 m tall, grows in parco Sella, Piemonte, Mosso Santa Mar, VC, Italy (Alberi Monumentali d'Italia, a listing of big trees in Italy).

In Australia, a tree in Latrobe, Tasmania was measured in 2011 as 167 cm dbh and 38.0 m tall (National Register of Big Trees 2012).



Numerous collections by Charles Stockton, working in Morocco ca. 1984-1989. The climate-ring width relationship is explored by Till (1987). Further work can be located at the Bibliography of Dendrochronology.


"It is a light-demanding tree which succeeds on basic soils, and it is quite hardy. A fast growing species, it is cultivated for ornamental purposes in parks and avenues, and may be used for afforestation of the Mediterranean and sub-Mediterranean barren lands.

"Wood is durable and used in building and for furniture" (Vidakovic 1991).




Barbey, A. 1934. Une reliquie de la Sapiniére Mèditerranéenne: Le Mont Babor. Monographie de l'Abies Numidica Lann., pag. 1-78.

National Register of Big Trees. 2012. Tree Register: National Registry of Big Trees., accessed 2012.06.23.

Till, C. 1987. The summary response function of Cedrus atlantica (Endl.) Carrière in Morocco. Tree-Ring Bulletin 47:23-36. Available online at (accessed 2006.06.05).

See also

Caraglio, Yves. [no date]. Mediterranean Pines and Cedars. (accessed 2006.11.01). This page describes the "Morphology and architecture of Cedrus atlantica Manetti ex Carrière."

Farjon (1990) provides a detailed account, with illustrations.

Nicholson, R. 1986. Collecting rare conifers in North Africa. Arnoldia 46(1):20-29. Available:, accessed 2010.02.12.

Last Modified 2013-05-17