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It’s All in the Details

Everything you need to know about the cedar tree, from identification tips to typical characteristics; how to spot disease and the best way to maintain a cedar tree.
The cedar tree is common in the UK, although it is actually native to Lebanon and is, in fact, the country’s national emblem. It is also found in parts of Asia and the eastern Mediterranean. It is an evergreen conifer forming part of the pine family and interestingly, its wood provides protection from insects where the tree grows as a native species.
Considered a popular and eye-catching architectural tree due to its striking appearance, the cedar tree’s low maintenance and the next-to-no requirement for pruning make it a top choice for public grounds landscapers and you will often see cedar trees in estate gardens and parks.
Some scientists recognize two varieties of the cedar of Lebanon, one being the Lebanon variety and the other the Turkish cedar. The tree also has two very close relations, the Cyprus cedar, and the Atlas cedar.

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General Facts



(Cedrus libani)

Cedar is a majestic evergreen conifer native to Lebanon and the eastern coast of the Mediterranean and Asia Minor.

Cedar bark is blackish-brown in color and has closely spaced ridges and cracks

Cedar flowers develop into a green cone, which becomes purple-grey and then brown 

Cedar has a distinct shape with clear horizontal layers in its structure 

The needles are arranged in spirals around side shoots 

The dark green leaves are needle-like with transparent tips 

Twigs are brown and slightly hairy and needles are arranged in rosettes or clusters 

Cedar is often found in parks and gardens on large estates although is not commonly planted today 

Common name: cedar

Scientific name: Cedrus libani

Family: Pinaceae

UK provenance: non-native

Interesting fact: cedarwood is used as an insect repellent in its native Lebanon.

What does cedar look like? 

Overview grows to 35m. The bark is blackish-brown with closely spaced ridges and cracks, and twigs are brown and slightly hairy. Cedar has a distinct shape, with several trunks and clear horizontal layers in its structure.

Leaves: dark green leaves are needle-like with transparent tips, and arranged in spirals around side shoots in rosettes or clusters.

Flowers: monoecious. Female flowers develop into a green cone, which becomes purple-grey and finally brown when mature, up to 12 months after pollination. Male flowers develop on separate cones that are small and greyish- green when immature but lengthen and turn brown when mature. They release pollen into the air.

Fruits: cones are 8-12cm long and are often produced every other year.

Look out for: the cones form singly and stand upright at the ends of the short shoots. The needles are clustered along the twigs.

Could be confused with: unlikely to be confused with anything.

Identified in winter by the barrel-shaped cones have a flattened top and a papery feel. The clusters of needles are present year-round.

Where to find cedar

Cedar is particularly well adapted to mountainous climates where they receive winter precipitation but is most often found in the UK when planted in parks and gardens of large estates.

Value to wildlife

Cedar is not considered to be particularly valuable to wildlife.

Mythology and symbolism

Cedar was thought to represent purification and protection, and represents incorruptibility and eternal life. It was apparently a Jewish custom to burn cedar wood to celebrate New year. 

How we use cedar

In the UK, cedar was planted in nearly every stately home and mansion from the 1740s onwards, however it is not commonly planted today. 

Today cedar is used for its hard, durable wood, which retains a sweet fragrance for many years. An oil similar to turpentine can be obtained from the wood.


Cedar may be susceptible to honey fungus and is also prone to aphid attack.


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