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Monday, May 9, 2011

Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca' - Blue Atlas Cedar

Such a beautiful tree, especially when old. A bit stiff and awkward when young. A several hundred year old tree at Bodnant Gardens, Wales.



Large evergreen conifer, slow growing to 60-80' x 30' wide. Generally upright and stiff. Full canopy, great color. Main leader is vertical, main lateral branches strongly ascending often coming off the main trunk and curving 90 degrees to vertical then flattening out. The secondary laterals are horizontal and relatively short, and very stiff, but the tips do weep a bit. Much more stiff than the Deodars. An averaged aged tree in Chico.



Foliage linear, needle like, bluish to silvery blue, usually not longer than 1", with 20-30 on a spur. Sharp and stiff.



Young stems thickly pubescent. Secondary branches are flat, horizontal in more or less one plane.





Male and female stroboli (Flowers) appearing from June to September. Males distinctly upright, 3-4" long x 3/4" wide. You can see remnants of males in the image above.

Female cones cylindrical, with level or concave top, 2-4" long, up to 2" wide, glossy, light brown, maturing in September and October and shedding scales. Cones disintegrate on the tree leaving only the central stalk behind. The scales are about 1" across, or less, while the deodar cedar scales are almost 2" across.



Bark is grayish brown, shallowly fissured, somewhat alligator skin like.



Noted cultivar and all around great plant for residential neighborhoods is Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca Pendula'. Some references list this as a cultivar of Cedrus libani.  Great. So some experts put C. atlantica in with C. libani as C. libani var. atlantica.



Cool use of the plant.



Misidentification:
Other true cedars (especially the Cedar of Lebanon). Notice the tree on the left, rigid, green, most likely Cedrus libanii.



When blue it will not be easily mistaken however greener forms exist. I was told years ago that the primary scaffold branches are always vertical while deodar cedars were flat, but that does not hold true. look at the orientation of the secondary branches, on the deodar they are weeping while on this they are very flat.

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