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:: Cedrus atlantica ::
Blue Atlas Cedar


   The blue atlas cedar, a member of the Pinaceae or pine family, is native to the Atlas Mountains of Algeria and Morocco . It can reach heights of 165 feet and widths of 5 feet, though it usually only becomes around 60-130 feet tall. It grows at a slow to moderate speed. The oldest verifiable atlas cedar is around 600 years old.

   Cedrus atlantica thrives in limestone soil and sandstone soils in a humid atmosphere and mild climate. It is relatively drought-resistant. Its leaves are needle-like, short, flattened, and curved. They range in color from dark green to bluish. The bark is dark gray and fissured into scaly plates on old trees. The cones are purple-brown until they ripen after 2-3 years.

   The timber of the blue atlas cedar is good for carpentry, and its strong smell keeps insects away. This tree is popular in gardens for the bluish color of its leaves. The atlas cedar is narrow and cone-shaped when young, but as the tree grows older, its branches start to spread out and its top becomes flatter.

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Cal Poly Plant Conservatory
Biological Sciences Department
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, Ca 93407