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The Cedar of Lebanon

UK Garden Centre - Information on the Cedar of Lebanon

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Family Pinaceae
Cedrus Libani

The Cedar varies greatly – no tree more so – in height and general outline, according to situation and environment, and though well-grown trees in this country may be stated as from fifty to eighty feet, we have examples of one hundred and one hundred and twenty feet where the conditions have been specially favourable. But the Cedar, as usually seen on lawns and in parks, has a low, rounded, or flattened top, the great spreading arms having grown more rapidly than the trunk. Thus grown, the huge bole has seldom any great length, throwing out these timber branches at from six to ten feet from the ground, and immediately afterwards the trunk is divided into several stems. From these the main branches take a curving direction, at first ascending, but the part farthest from the trunk becoming almost horizontal. It is chiefly at the extremity of the branches that the branchlets and leaves are produced.
The evergreen leaves last for three, four or five years, and are needle-shaped, varying about an inch in length. They are produced in tufts that are arranged spirally round dwarf shoots, mostly on the upper side of the branchlets.
The male flowers are to be found at the extremity of branchlets which, though six or seven years old, are very short, their development having been arrested.
The solid, purple-brown cones are only three or four inches long, broad-topped, and with a diameter of half the length; the scales thin and closely pressed together; they are at first greyish-green, tinged with pink. The development and maturity of these cones take two or three seasons, and they remain on the tree for several years longer. The seeds are angular, with a wedge-shaped wing.
The trees do not produce cones until they are from twenty-five to thirty years old; but they may be a hundred years old before producing either male or female flowers.
The trunk is covered with thick, rough, deeply fissured bark is smooth, and peels off in thin flakes.
The Cedar, in its native habitat, produces admirable timber, but that of trees grown in this country is described as reddish-white, light and spongy, easily worked, but very apt to shrink and warp, and by no means durable. For these reasons the tree is grown almost solely for ornament.


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