Forest 11 - Himalayan cedar


Cedrus deodara

Himalayan cedars in Forest 11. Photo by R. Davis. Himalayan cedars in Forest 11

Other common names

Deodar cedar. Urdu:  Deodar. Hindi:  Devdaru

Origin of the species name

Cedrus is Latin for the cedar; deodara comes from the Sanskrit word which means 'timber of the gods'.

Family

Pinaceae

Date planted

1917-1930 and September 2010

Lifespan

Himalayan cedars can live up to 600 years.

General description

This is an evergreen conifer with a conical crown when young which becomes rounded as the tree ages.  The bark is initially smooth and grey-brown, but develops short furrows with scaly ridge tops with age.  The tree's branches are level, but the branchlets are drooping and the needles are blue-green.  The mature cones are upright, reddish brown and usually resinous. Height 35m Spread 20m.

Natural distribution and habitat

The species is native to the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region across Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and West Nepal and into Tibet. It is often an important component of temperate forests on north-facing valley slopes, where rainfall can range from less than 1000 mm per year up to 2500 mm per year, mostly in the form of winter snow.

Conservation status

While the tree is not classified as threatened, it is felt that about 30-40% of the trees have been removed from accessible areas over the last 40 years. This mainly occurs in habitats that are threatened as a result of grazing rights. The successful conservation of un-felled wild stands may now be needed to protect the genetic resources of this species.

Uses

It is an important tree in India and it has been long used use to construct religious temples. The curative properties of deodar are well recorded in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. Its many other applications include incense, soap, perfumes, household sprays, floor polishes insecticides and bonsai. The Himalayan cedar forests were a favourite place for meditating for ancient Indian sages. It is the national tree of Pakistan.

Planting pattern

A regular diamond grid pattern.

Further reading

Farjon, A (2010) A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Brill.