Atlas Cedar is a species of picturesque coniferous tree found in the Atlas Mountain Range of Morocco and Algeria at an altitude of 1,370-2,200m. It has a loose pyramidal form when young, and its striking green or bluish-green foliage, along with its long branches, spread rapidly, becoming flat-topped with age. When given enough room to grow freely, it can reach up to a height of 40m, and its crown can spread up to 12m.
|Scientific Name||Cedrus atlantica|
|Similar to||Lebanon cedar|
|Size||Large trees with a fairly straight trunk and horizontal lateral branches; 30-35 m tall with 1.5-2 m trunk diameter|
|Leaves||Simple, needle-like leaves with spiral arrangement and parallel venation; the blade length is about 10-25 mm; no change in fall color|
|Flowers||The flowers are not showy; female flowers grow on the upper part of the tree while the male flowers are found in the lower parts; female flowers mature into cones|
|Cones||Average size of 9 cm but may grow up to 12 cm; oval or conical male cones that are green when young, but turn brown with age; purple female cones are found on the upper branches; has a dry and hard fruit covering|
|Branches||May droop and not showy|
|Distribution/Range||In Morocco, around the Northern High-, Middle-, and Oriental-Atlas range; in the Central and Western Rif Mountains; in Algeria, around the Aures and Djurdjura Mountains|
|Growth Rate||Grows slowly with an annual height increase of 12 inches|
|Growing Conditions||Humidity: Grows in the humid regions of its native range
Winter Conditions: Can survive in moderate cold but does not prefer areas that receive heavy snow
Summer Conditions: Tolerates hot and dry weather
Rain: Moderate rainfall
Sunlight: Thrives when exposed to direct sunlight; partial shade is also important for growth
Soil Requirements: Adapted to alkaline, acidic, sandy, loamy, moist, rich, and well-drained soils; it is also tolerant to drought
|Diseases and Pests||No great harm is caused by diseases or pests; sometimes affected by the Deodar weevil, tip blight, black scale, and root rots; sap suckers may puncture small holes in the tree trunk|
|Wildlife Value||Forms pure, as well as mixed forests, on the Atlas Mountains in Morocco providing a suitable natural environment for the endangered species of Barbary macaque; different species of birds use these trees for nesting and roosting|
|Uses||As specimen and ornamental trees in landscaping and gardening; for timber production; bonsai|
|IUCN Conservation Status||Endangered|
- The Atlas cedar produces natural oil with a distinctive smell that deters pests and insects. This is the reason cedar wood is used in making furniture.
- The South Lawn of White House in Washington, DC has an Atlas cedar, in which President Carter had a treehouse designed and built for his daughter Amy Lynn Carter.