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Cedrus atlantica

cedrus atlantica, cedrus atlantica glauca pendula
C libani subsp atlantica Endl Batt & Trab

Cedrus atlantica, the Atlas cedar, is a cedar native to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco Middle Atlas, High Atlas, to the Rif, and to the Tell Atlas in Algeria2 A majority of the modern sources345678910 treat it as a distinct species Cedrus atlantica, but some sources1112 consider it a subspecies of Lebanon cedar C libani subsp atlantica


  • 1 Description
  • 2 Ecology
  • 3 Cultivation and uses
    • 31 Landscape
    • 32 Forestry
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links


Cedrus atlantica foliage and mature female cone Male cones beginning to shed pollen

Fully grown, Atlas cedar is a large coniferous evergreen tree, 30–35 m rarely 40 m tall, with a trunk diameter of 15–2 m It is very similar in all characters to the other varieties of Lebanon cedar; differences are hard to discern The mean cone size tends to be somewhat smaller although recorded to 12 cm,2 only rarely over 9 cm long, compared to up to 10 cm in C brevifolia, and 12 cm in C libani, though with considerable overlap all can be as short as 6 cm The Cedrus atlantica leaf length 10–25 mm is similar that of C libani subsp stenocoma, on average longer than C brevifolia and shorter than C libani subsp libani, but again with considerable overlap2813


Atlas cedar forms forests on mountainsides at 1,370 to 2,200 m, often in pure forests, or mixed with Algerian fir - Abies numidica, Juniperus oxycedrus, holm oak - Quercus ilex, and Acer opalus These forests can provide habitat for the endangered Barbary macaque, Macaca sylvanus, a primate that had a prehistorically much wider distribution in northern Morocco and Algeria14

Currently, Morocco has the highest total surface of Atlas cedar in the world, and it forms vast forests in the humid zones of the country, around the Middle-Atlas range, the oriental and Northern High-Atlas range, and in the Western and Central Rif mountain range The current total area is around 163,000 hectares, of which around 115,000 hectares 80% are situated in the Middle-Atlas mountains The species is in danger of human use, wood harvesting and fires Data that go back to 1927 show higher number of Atlas cedars more than 150,000 hectares in the Middle-Atlas mountains only The Rif mountains had one of the largest cedar forests in the past, but forests nowadays are much smaller, 15% of the total cedar forests in Morocco Recently massive reforestation campaigns have taken place in the region of Ifrane Province

In Algeria, the Atlas cedar has been in massive decline According to data from 1966 the species inhabited 23,000 hectares, forming forests around the djurdjura Mountains in Kabylie and Aures Mountains However, it is expected that it currently inhabits fewer than 15,000 hectares owing to extensive fires and human use

Cultivation and usesedit

Atlas cedars in Algeria Atlas cedars in a garden in South Africa on a foggy morning


C atlantica is common in cultivation as an ornamental tree in temperate climates In garden settings, often the glaucous forms are planted as ornamental trees, distinguished as the Glauca group, a cultivar group Also, fastigiate, pendulous, and golden-leaf forms are in cultivation The Atlas cedar is useful in cultivation because it is more tolerant of dry and hot conditions than most conifers

Many of the cultivated trees have glaucous bluish foliage, more downy shoots, and can have more leaves in each whorl; young trees in cultivation often have more ascending branches than many cultivated C atlantica specimens15

An Atlas cedar is planted at the White House South Lawn in Washington, DC President Carter ordered a tree house built within the cedar for his daughter Amy The wooden structure was designed by the President himself, and is self-supporting so as not to cause damage to the tree16


Cedar plantations, mainly with C atlantica, have been established in southern France for timber productioncitation needed


  1. ^ Thomas, P 2013 Cedrus atlantica In: IUCN 2013 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Version 20131 <wwwiucnredlistorg> Downloaded on 13 July 2013
  2. ^ a b c Gaussen, H 1964 Genre Cedrus Les Formes Actuelles Trav Lab For Toulouse T2 V1 11: 295-320
  3. ^ Gymnosperm database Cedrus
  4. ^ GRIN Taxonomy for Plants Cedrus
  5. ^ NCBI Taxonomy Browser Cedrus
  6. ^ Flora of China vol 4
  7. ^ Qiao, C-Y, Jin-Hua Ran, Yan Li and Xiao-Quan Wang 2007: Phylogeny and Biogeography of Cedrus Pinaceae Inferred from Sequences of Seven Paternal Chloroplast and Maternal Mitochondrial DNA Regions Annals of Botany 1003:573-580 Available online
  8. ^ a b Farjon, A 1990 Pinaceae Drawings and Descriptions of the Genera Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3-87429-298-3
  9. ^ Farjon, A 2008 A Natural History of Conifers Timber Press ISBN 0-88192-869-0
  10. ^ Christou, K A 1991 The genetic and taxonomic status of Cyprus cedar, Cedrus brevifolia Hook Henry Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania, Greece
  11. ^ Güner, A, Özhatay, N, Ekim, T, & Başer, K H C ed 2000 Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands 11 Supplement 2: 5–6 Edinburgh University Press ISBN 0-7486-1409-5
  12. ^ Eckenwalder, J E 2009 Conifers of the World: The Complete Reference Timber Press ISBN 0-88192-974-3
  13. ^ Schwarz, O 1944 Anatolica Feddes Repertorium 54: 26-34
  14. ^ C Michael Hogan 2008 Barbary Macaque: Macaca sylvanus, GlobalTwitchercom, ed N Stromberg Archived August 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Walters, W M 1986 European Garden Flora Vol 1 ISBN 0-521-24859-0
  16. ^ "Archived copy" Archived from the original on 2009-05-02 Retrieved 2009-04-15 

External linksedit

  • uconnedu: Cedrus atlantica profile and gallery
  • Gymnosperm Database - Cedrus atlantica Atlas cedar description
  • PFAF Plant Database: Cedrus atlantica Atlas deodar cedar
  • Cedrus atlantica - genetic conservation units European Forest Genetic Resources Programme EUFORGEN

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