Although the differences between the Cedar of
Lebanon and the Deodar are really slight, they
are sufficient at once to strike the ordinary
observer. In proportion to the height of the trunk,
for example, the main branches are much shorter,
the result being a more regular pyramidal outline,
terminating in a light spire. The terminal shoots
of the branches are longer, more slender, and
quite pendulous. There is no necessity, therefore,
for repeating the particulars already given respecting
the Cedar of Lebanon, which apply to the Deodar
with such modifications as are indicated above.
The headquarters of the Deodar are in the mountains
of northwest India, where it forms forests at
various altitudes above 3,500 feet. Its vertical
distribution extends to a height of 12,000 feet,
but its principal habitat lies between 6,000 and
Deodar timber produced in its native forests is
exceedingly durable, being compact and even grained,
not liable to warp or split and standing the test
of being alternately wet and dry.
It is to the Hon. W. L. Melville that we are indebted
for the introduction of the Deodar to Britain
in 1831, and during the next ten years many young
trees were raised here from seeds. Favourably
impressed by the rapidity of growth of these seedlings,
large numbers of Deodar seeds were imported and
distributed by the government, and high estimates
were formed of the future value of these trees.
But in framing these estimates one important factor
was omitted – the uncertainty of the British
climate, with its rapid changes. A score or two
of years served to demonstrate that such conditions
were opposed to the longevity and uniform development
that produced sound timber on the Indian mountains.
In spite of this failure, there are to be seen
in many parts of these islands fine young Deodars
of forty or fifty years, and from fifty to seventy
feet in height.