BLUE ATLAS CEDAR
CEDRUS ATLANTICA GLAUCA
Blue atlas cedar is a very pretty Evergreen which is native to the the Atlas Mountains of Algeria and Morocco. Currently this tree is listed as an endangered species due to an unfortunate combination of drought, overgrazing, fire, pests, and diseases. In the UK they are planted as an ornamental tree and really stand out. Due to their size they tend to be planted in the larger parks and green spaces. In Exeter they are thankfully quite easy to come across - both young and mature specimens. St Thomas pleasure grounds has a fantastic speciment at the very front of the park and there is also a good sized one within the green space of Exe Bridges. Atlas cedar as a species was introduced into the UK in 1841.
During it's younger years it tends to grow a conical shape and as it matures it branches out into it's iconic pyramidal figure. Altough it is classed a slow growing tree (less than 12 inches per year) it does seem to grow more quickly in it's infancy and then slows down as it matures - very much like us! The Blue atlas cedar is identical to the regular Atlas cedar with only the colour of the needles being different. There is also the Cedar of Lebanon and Deodar cedar - but these tend to be in places such as churchgrounds and older places rather than public green spaces and parks. From a distance they look very similair but once you get up close and check the branches you can usually tell the difference. Atlas cedar (including Blue atlas cedar) the branches are more 'Assending'. For Cedar of Lebanon the branches are 'level' and for Deodar cedar the branches are 'descending'. The Atlas cedar is typically the easiest of the three to tell apart.
Blue atlas cedar apparantly can live for up to 150 years which I find surprising as Deodar cedar has been reported to live to up 1000 years! I would imagine in the right location and soil type it could happily live for well over 300 years. Unlike some trees which respond well to pruning these do not and is recommended to try and let the tree be where possible. In public green spaces it is highly likely that the lower branches will be removed to avoid any sort of public liability. Blue atlas cedar is very tolerent of heat and dryness and overall thrives on most soil types - as long as they are not water logged. If given the space and allowed to grow to their full size they can quite happily get to 40m tall or higher. The spread of the tree can also be quite wide which is why plenty of space should be made to allow them to grow.
The male cones are upright and yellowis green leading up to pollen release
The mature female cones are barrel shaped and often covered in resin
Blue atlas cedar is monoecious in nature which means both the male and female parts on the same tree but different parts. The male cones shed the pollen during August to September and easily stand out. They are upright and look a bit like slim pineapples when you look at them directly downards. During October time the ground is littered with the shed male cones. The female cones take over a year to fully mature and they stand out all year round. They are very big and barrel shaped and are fairly heavy. Whilst they are semi-mature they are green in colour and when they are fully mature they are brown. They are pollinated by the wind and the seeds are also dispersed by the wind as well. Quite often grey squirrels will chew the mature female cones down to a gnawed core. The mature female cones are usually around 6 - 10cm in length.
The bark of Blue atlas cedar is grey in colour and fairly smooth. As it ages the bark becomes cracked and dark grey-green. The needles produce a layer of wax which varies in thickness and protects them from sunburn and desiccation. The leaves are around 2.5 cm long, pointed, usually 4 sided and dark green to glaucous blue in colour. The needles are in clusters of up to 45 which helps with identification as Cedar of Lebanon usually has cluters of 10 -20 and Deodar cedar clusters of 20 - 30. Blue atlas cedar is shallow rooted in nature and during their very early years may require additional watering. The aromatic oil the tree produces is a natural deterrent for insects, wood from this cedar is commonly used in chests and furniture drawers.
OTHER USEFUL LINKS
- Blue atlas cedar is an evergreen conifer
- It is native to the the Atlas Mountains of Algeria and Morocco
- This tree is listed as an endangered species due to an unfortunate combination of drought, overgrazing, fire, pests, and diseases
- In the UK they are widely planted in parks and green spaces
- Atlas cedar as a species was introduced into the UK in 1841
- Overall it is a slow growing species of up to 12 inches per year
- According to general study it can live for up to 150 years
- Blue atlas cedar does not respond well to pruning
- They can grow up to 40m so need a good amount of space
- It is tolerent of most soil types but will have issues in water logged areas
- Blue atlas cedar is monoecious in nature which means both the male and female parts on the same tree but different parts.
- The female cones take over a year to fully mature and they stand out all year round
- The male cones shed the pollen during August to September and easily stand out
- They are wind pollinated and the seeds are also dispersed by the wind
- The mature female cones are usually around 6 - 10cm in length
- The bark of Blue atlas cedar is grey in colour and fairly smooth
- The leaves are around 2.5 cm long, pointed, usually 4 sided and dark green to glaucous blue in colour
- The needles are in clusters of up to 45 which is more than the Cedar of Lebanon and Deodar cedar
- Blue atlas cedar is shallow rooted in nature
- The aromatic oil the tree produces is a natural deterrent for insects
PLEASE LEAF ME ANY FEEDBACK / COMMENTS
If there is anything out of place or wrong please contact me. Equally if there is anything you wish to add please let me know. The more information we have about this tree the better. Many thanks!