Cedrus libani: Cedar of Lebanon1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson 2

Introduction

This is a large stately evergreen, with a massive trunk when mature, and wide-sweeping, sometimes upright branches (more often horizontal) which originate on the lower trunk. Allow plenty of space for proper development. Dark green needles and cones, which are held upright above the foliage, add to the impressive appearance. Young specimens retain a pyramidal shape but the tree takes on a more open form with age. Like most true cedars, it does not like to be transplanted, and prefers a pollution-free, sunny environment.

Figure 1. Middle-aged Cedrus libani: Cedar-of-Lebanon
Figure 1.  Middle-aged Cedrus libani: Cedar-of-Lebanon
Credit: Ed Gilman

General Information

Scientific name: Cedrus libani
Pronunciation: SEE-drus LIB-an-eye
Common name(s): Cedar of Lebanon
Family: Pinaceae
USDA hardiness zones: 5B through 10A (Fig. 2)
Origin: not native to North America
Invasive potential: little invasive potential
Uses: specimen; street without sidewalk; tree lawn > 6 ft wide; highway median
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the tree

Figure 2. Range
Figure 2.  Range

Description

Height: 40 to 50 feet
Spread: 20 to 30 feet
Crown uniformity: irregular
Crown shape: pyramidal
Crown density: open
Growth rate: slow
Texture: medium

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: spiral (Fig. 3)
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: needle-like (filiform)
Leaf venation: parallel
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen, needled evergreen
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Figure 3. Foliage
Figure 3.  Foliage

Flower

Flower color: brown, purple
Flower characteristics: not showy

Fruit

Fruit shape: oval, cone
Fruit length: 3 to 6 inches
Fruit covering: dry or hard
Fruit color: green, blue
Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches droop; not showy; typically one trunk; thorns
Pruning requirement: little required
Breakage: resistant
Current year twig color: green, brown
Current year twig thickness: medium
Wood specific gravity: unknown

Culture

Light requirement: full sun
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; alkaline; acidic; well-drained
Drought tolerance: high
Aerosol salt tolerance: unknown

Other

Roots: not a problem
Winter interest: no
Outstanding tree: yes
Ozone sensitivity: unknown
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: resistant
Pest resistance: free of serious pests and diseases

Use and Management

Cedars are not well-suited for street tree planting in downtown situations, but are unrivaled as specimens, even for hot, dry locations. There are examples of residential street tree plantings on 20-foot-centers which look rather striking. Adapted to high pH and dry soil.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern.

Footnotes

1. This document is ENH295, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #ENH295

Date: 2014-06-11
Southern Trees Fact Sheets

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Contacts

  • Michael Andreu