Cedrus libani libani. CEDAR OF LEBANON. Asia Minor
PINACEAE (Pine family)

Cedar of Lebanon is closely related to Atlas cedar. Cedar logs, also pine and cypress, were transported in sailing ships from Byblos on the Lebanese coast to ancient Egypt, which lacked wood, and where attempts at transplantation had been unsuccessful. Later, a straight cedar road was cut through the mountains from Mount Lebanon to the sea, but by this time Byblos had been ruined by economic collapse in Egypt, and the Aramaean ports of Tyre and Sidon had taken over. King Solomon made himself a chariot of "the cedar which is in Labanon" (and still is today on the flag). Cedar was heavily used for construction, for example in Jerusalem in the Temple of Solomon. The 'cedar wood' that the Israelites used in their wanderings in Sinai would have been a kind of juniper; certainly the ancient Roman 'cedrus' was a juniper--its oil was used as a pesticide to preserve books. In his travels, Odysseus found both Circe and Calypso burning cedar for its fragrance.

Two groups of three are at the west face of the Meyer Library. Two giants planted in 1927 stand guard at 345 Forest Avenue at Gilman Street in Palo Alto.

Key to Species

Needles distinctly dark green; uncommon (west of Meyer Library), relatively young trees ......... 1. Cedrus libani.
Needles green to blue-green; numerous and widespread on campus, many old, large specimens
     Needles less than 1 inch long, usually distinctly blue-green; cones 2 to 3 inches long; branchlets rarely pendulous ... 2. C. atlantica.
     Needles 1 to 2 inches long, green; cones 3 to 5 inches long; branchlets pendulous .......... 3. C. deodara.

Illustrations (links open new windows): Silhouettes from Trees of Stanford & its Environs


Name derivation, genus | species Latin name for cedar | of Lebanon

Related material: Canopy Trees for Palo Alto Tree Library

Botanical name index | Common name index | Family
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