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Atlas CedarCedrus atlantica

  • Atlas Cedar - Cedrus atlantica
  • Atlas Cedar

A distinctive evergreen, the Atlas cedar make a beautiful specimen tree. Its silvery blue to bluish-green needles are eye-catching in any landscape, and it develops an attractive, rugged form when given the space to grow freely.

Because the aromatic oil the tree produces is a natural deterrent for insects, wood from this cedar is commonly used in chests and furniture drawers.


Hardiness Zones

The atlas cedar can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 6–9. View Map

Tree Type

This is an evergreen tree, keeping its foliage year-round.

Mature Size

The Atlas cedar grows to a height of 40–60' and a spread of 30–40' at maturity.

Growth Speed Slow Growth Rate

This tree grows at a slow rate, with height increases of less than 12" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of 4 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The Atlas cedar grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, silty loam and well-drained soils. It prefers moist soil but can tolerate moderate drought.

Attributes

This tree:
  • Grows in a pyramidal shape.
  • Requires plenty of space.
  • Features silvery blue to bluish-green (sometimes dark green) needles up to 1½" long that are somewhat stiff and crowded into clusters of 10–20 or more on short spurs.
  • Yields barrel-shaped male cones that are 2–3" long and sit upright on the lower branches. They start out green, turning brown as they mature over a two-year period.
  • Also develops larger purple female cones on upper branches.
  • Produces an aromatic oil that naturally deters insects.

Wildlife Value

The Middle Atlas cedar forest of Morocco is the last suitable habitat for the Barbary macaque. It is also used as cover, nesting and roosting habitat for a variety of birds.

History/Lore

The Atlas cedar was introduced into this country in 1845. It is named after the Atlas Mountains in northwest Africa, where you can find the tree in its natural habitat.