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'.
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).
Mountains of the S and SE Mediterranean and the W Himal (Vidakovic 1991).
The largest known specimens of both C. libani and C. atlantica are over 350 cm dbh, and there are unsupported reports of C. deodara nearly this large. These three species also vie for the tallest specimen: 45 m for C. deodara, 43 m for C. libani and 40 m for C. atlantica. Given the paucity of data, any of these species may qualify as the largest.
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.
Last Modified 2012-11-25