Types of Cedar Trees with Identification Guide (Pictures, and Name) – Including False Cedar Trees

The needle-like leaves of cedar trees are spirally arranged on scented woody branches and make them large evergreen conifers. Cedars prefer full sun and well-draining soil to grow at high elevations. The genus Cedrus belongs to the pine (Pinaceae) family, and there are four species of cedar trees.

The four types of cedar trees are Atlas cedar Cyprian cedar (Cedrus brevifolia) has blue-green needle-leaves, Himalayan cedar (Cedrus deodara) has bright green needles, and Lebanon cedar (Cedrus libani) has glaucous, blue-green foliage. You’ll learn how to identify the four different types of genuine cedars in this article. We’ll explore additional trees with the common name cedar but that aren’t really cedars in terms of botany.

True Cedars Vs. False Cedars

The Cedrus genus includes true cedar trees like Atlas cedar (Cedrus Atlantica). False cedars do, however, belong to the Cupressaceae family (cypress). False cedars in the cypress family include Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) and Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana).

The evergreen needle leaves of true cedars and false cedars may be distinguished. The needle clusters on woody pegs are found in true cedars of the Cedrus genus. False cedars, which are in fact cypress trees, have delicate, scaly feather-like leaves on their branches.

How to Identify Cedar Trees

Cedars are evergreen trees with upright cones and needles that may be observed in photographs (left). Cedars have bluish-green needles that cluster along woody branches in groups. The large, barrel-like cones that rise up on branches rather than hang are another identifying characteristic of genuine cedar trees.

The reddish-brown bark of a mature cedar tree is covered with long scales that are easy to remove. Cedars’ massive height, which can reach 160 feet (50 meters) in some cases, is another way to identify them.

True Cedar Trees (With Pictures and Names)

Let’s examine the four cedar species’ distinguishing characteristics. Pictures and their botanical names will help you identify each species, as well as descriptions of these massive trees. The kinds of genuine cedar trees are as follows.

Atlas Cedar (Cedrus Atlantica)

The Atlas cedar tree (left) and Cedrus Atlantica ‘Aurea’ (right) are examples of true cedar trees that appear in these photographs. The Atlas mountain in Morocco is the source of this conifer tree’s name. The Atlas cedars have a conical shape that gives them ornamental value, although they are not as tall as other trees in the genus Cedrus.

These cedars, also known as Atlanta Cedars, are appropriate for establishing in huge backyards. In garden landscapes, they grow to only 40 feet (12 meters) tall, making them perfect for full sun and hot, arid climates. Golden Atlas Cedar ‘Aurea’ with golden foliage, Blue Atlas Cedar ‘Glauca’ with bluish green needles, the ‘Glauca Pendula,’ with weeping branches, and ‘Argentea Fastigiata’ are among the ornamental cultivars available.

Cedar Tree Identification

Glaucous blue-green clusters of needles on aromatic branches are used to identify Atlas cedar. The smooth scales of the barrel-shaped cones are shorter than those of other cedars, yellow until turning dark brown with age. The dark-brown or gray bark of the Atlas cedar fissures as it grows, making it easy to identify.

Deodar Cedar (Cedrus Deodara)

due to its natural habitat, the Deodar cedar tree is also known as Himalayan cedar. It has needle-like leaves. Deodar cedars are swiftly growing, huge evergreen conifer trees with a somewhat conical form. It is derived from its common and botanical names, which literally mean “wood of the gods.” This cedar species has a fast growth rate, making it a very decorative and appealing tree.

Deodar cedar trees, which grow in the Himalayan Mountains and may reach 160 feet (48 meters) tall, are evergreen. They don’t usually grow more than 50 feet (15 meters) in a park or garden landscape, however, with a 30-foot (9-meter) spread. Deodar cedar wood has a reputation for being hard and having a pretty grain. The building industry makes use of timber from these cedars. Cedar lumber, on the other hand, isn’t ideal for furniture construction.

Cedar Tree Identification

Look for drooping branches on Deodar cedar trees to identify them. On short shoots, its needle-like leaves form tight clusters. Bright green to blue-green foliage is possible. Deodar cedar has gray and scaly bark, with barrel cones that grow up to 5″ (13 cm) long.

Cyprian Cedar (Cedrus brevifolia)

The short needles of the Cyprian cedar make it one of the most valuable. It resembles the Lebanon cedar in size, but not in appearance. The Cyprian cedar grows out horizontally from the branches, producing a flat-topped crown that is characteristic of Mediterranean settings. The short needles and compact growth of this sun-loving cedar are reflected in its scientific name, brevifolia, which means “small foliage.”

The Cyprian cedar tree reaches a height of up to 80 feet (24 meters) in its natural environment on Cyprus. The ornamental tree, on the other hand, can only grow to be 50 feet (15 meters) tall when grown under cultivation. The Cyprian cedar makes a good decorative tree for vast gardens, unlike the Lebanon cedar, which is too big.

Cedar Tree Identification

The Cyprian cedar is distinguished by clumps of little needles arranged spirally on short and woody stems. Before reaching maturity, its cones develop from green to light brown. As the tree grows, the bark of cyprian cedar becomes grayish-brown and fissures. The horizontal branches of this cedar will help you identify it.

Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani)

Due to their horizontally-growing branches, Lebanon cedar is a cold hardy true cedar tree that may grow to be very tall. Evergreen conifers native to Lebanon and the Middle East may grow up to 130 feet (40 meters) tall. The mature trunks of these genuine cedars are known for separating into multiple different trunks.

Because of its fine grain and resistance to rot, Lebanon cedar timber has been utilized for ages. Cedar wood from the Middle East is famous for its furniture-making and building properties. Cedar resin oil is also extracted from the tree.

Despite its origin in warm regions, the cedar of Lebanon is a cold-hardy tree. Before the higher branches of a conifer flatten out as they grow horizontally, it has a conical form. For the first 50 years, the tree grows quickly before coming to a halt. Cedars may live for up to a thousand years in Lebanon.

Cedar Tree Identification

Due to their lofty height, Lebanon cedars are easily recognized. On a multi-stemmed tree, look for horizontal branches. The huge woody, barrel-shaped cones can reach a length of 5 inches (13 cm) and a diameter of 2.4 inches (6 cm). Before becoming rough as it matures, Lebanon cedar’s bark is gray-brown and smooth.

False Cedar Trees (With Pictures and Names)

Cedars are the common name for a number of conifer species that aren’t cedars. Juniper and cypress trees are among the varieties found here. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular false and imitation cedars. The different types of false cedar trees may be found here.

Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

Nonetheless, there are smaller cultivars that are appropriate for smaller areas or as a privacy hedge (right). The eastern red cedar may grow to be a tall tree. Pencil cedar, aromatic cedar, and Virginian juniper are some of the other common names for this fake cedar. A conical shape, thick leaves, and upward growth characterize the slow-growing conifer tree.

These juniper species can tolerate tough situations, such as dry spells, and are therefore suited for harsh environments. Eastern red cedar is never more than a small shrub-like evergreen tree in certain growing conditions. This false cedar, on the other hand, can reach heights of 66 feet (20 meters) in ideal conditions.

Dwarf cultivars like Juniperus virginiana ‘Skyrocket’ and Juniperus virginiana ‘Brodie’ are suitable for smaller areas. Fence posts and furniture are typically made of eastern cedarwood.

Cedar Tree Identification

The spiky juvenile bright-green needle leaves become scale-like as the tree grows, and you can identify eastern red cedars by them. Eastern cedar cones are pale blue in color and resemble clusters of little berries when they emerge. The reddish-brown bark of these impostor cedars flakes off easily.

Northern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)

The northern white cedar, a cypress species, is frequently used in landscaped gardens as a living barrier or privacy screen. These attractive plants are excellent as a specimen plant or for creating a privacy hedge because of their delicate, dense foliage. These fake cedars only grow to be around 50 feet (15 meters) tall.

While these cypress trees are similar to juniper species, they are commonly known by different names. In full sun and moist soil, northern white cedars thrive. These Thujas are popular as specimen landscape trees or as a natural, living screen because of their evergreen, bright foliage and ornamental form.

With minimal care and trimming, they maintain their form well. Eastern white cedars are considered by many gardeners to be the easiest conifers to grow in their front or backyards.

Cedar Tree Identification

The silky feathery foliage of northern white cedars, which has scale-like flat leaves in a fan formation, is easily recognized. The bark of this arborvitae species is red-brown, and its seed cones are slender. These trees form a pyramid shape.

Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata)

The western red cedar is a huge conifer tree, reaching heights of up to 230 feet (70 meters) tall, although dwarf cultivars are available as well. The Cupressaceae family includes this false cedar, which is an evergreen conifer. The leaves are thick and glossy, and grow in a pyramid shape. The western red cedar timber is exceptionally durable, making it important in the timber trade.

This tree is especially suited for residential landscapes because it grows in dwarf western cedar cultivars. Little evergreens that don’t take up much space in a back yard are some of the most attractive western arborvitaes. The Thuja plicata ‘Fluffy’ is a pyramid-shaped dwarf tree that grows up to 10 feet (3 meters) tall, for example.

Or, there is the conical arborvitae, which grows up to 60 feet (18 meters) and is a fast-growing plant. Cold-tolerant trees that adapt to a variety of growing conditions include both western red cedars and eastern white cedars.

Cedar Tree Identification

Scale-like green leaves that produce flat sprays are used to identify the western red cedar. When crushed, the aromatic leaves release a pineapple-like odor. The western red cedar tree has brown bark with fissures running the length of the trunk, and it produces small, slender cones.

Spanish Cedar (Cedrela Odorata)

The Spanish cedar is a hardy drought-tolerant tree that is not a cedar at all, but rather a tropical tree. This fake cedar tree thrives in full sun and well-draining soil, making it drought tolerant. The height of this medium-sized tree ranges from 33 to 98 feet (10 to 30 meters).

Cedars, also known as evergreen trees, preserve their leaves year round. The false cedar tree, on the other hand, is a semi-deciduous, broad-leafed plant with ovate leaflets. Before maturity into little, winged-shaped fruits, this false cedar tree produces white flowers. Spanish cedar wood is of exceptional quality and antimicrobial, and it resists insect and rotting. Because of the above properties, wood is in high demand in the construction industry, especially for termites and rot.

Cedar Tree Identification

Pinnately compound leaves with ovate or lanceolate-shaped leaflets distinguish Spanish cedars. Spanish cedar has a gray-brown bark with irregular fissured patterns.

Alaskan Yellow Cedar (Cupressus nootkatensis)

The droopy branches, tiny cones, and grayish brown bark of Alaska yellow cedar distinguish it from other Cedrus species. The delicate green, feathery foliage and drooping branches of this cypress species distinguish it. The eastern coast of North America is home to the medium-sized, rapid-growing tree, which can be found from California to Alaska.

The pyramidal form and soft, dense foliage of the Alaskan yellow cedar are two of its appealing qualities. Foliage color may vary from bright, golden yellow to dark, luscious green depending on the cultivar. Yellow cedars are excellent landscaping specimen trees due to these factors. These lovely false cedars, often known as Nootka cedar or Nootka cypress, make fantastic tall privacy hedges or windbreaks. The wood from Alaska’s golden cedars is likewise highly regarded by many people.

Cedar Tree Identification

The dark green, flat scaly leaves that grow on pendulous branches are used to identify Alaskan yellow cedars. Little cones are produced by the cypress trees. These imaginary cedars may reach a height of 130 feet (40 meters).

Incense Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens)

Another false cedar in the Cupressaceae family is the mature incense cedar tree (left), cones (middle) and foliage (right). The huge tree has scale-like leaves that emerges from a conical crown with spreading branches. These aromatic cypress trees are native to California and northwest Mexico, as their common name suggests.

In colder climes, incense cedars develop into tall columnar trees. Its considerable spread in warmer climes gives it shade below, which has a spreading effect. As specimen trees in huge garden landscapes, these lovely, ornamental trees are wonderful.

Cedar Tree Identification

The flattened vertical sprays of the incense cedar tree are a good way to identify it. The aromatic false cedar tree can grow to be between 130 and 195 feet (40 and 60 meters) tall. The tree’s seed cones are an orange-yellowish color and are just over an inch (2.5 cm) long. Before becoming gray and fissured, immature incense cedar trees have orange-brown bark.

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