Atlas Cedar

Atlas Cedar

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Scientific Name:
Cedrus atlantica
Edinburgh, E04 Map
Available for adoption

Cedrus atlantica, commonly known as the Atlas cedar, is an evergreen conifer native to the Atlas Mountains in northern Africa. A variety with vivid bluish foliage was introduced into cultivation in UK in 1841, and planted for the first time in 1845. This majestic tree is now one of the most widely planted of ornamental conifers. It grows up to 35 m high, its beautiful needles borne in tufted clusters.

In the wild, Atlas cedar forms forests on mountain sides between 1,370 and 2,200 m, providing vital habitat for endangered wildlife such as the Barbary Macaque, a primate prehistorically distributed across northern Morocco and Algeria. Cedrus atlantica is now common in temperate climates as an ornamental tree, and is useful in cultivation due to its tolerance of dry and hot conditions. Plantations of cedar, largely Cedrus atlantica, have been established in France for timber production. It is very similar to the cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani), which was introduced 200 years prior to the Atlas cedar, and differs in having spreading (rather than ascending) branches.

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The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)