Forest 39 - Cedar of Lebanon

Cedrus libani subspecies libani

mature seed cone Lebanese cedar Cedar of Lebanon at Kew. Photo not from the Arboretum, by L. Muldoon

Other common names

Lebanon Cedar; French: Cèdre du Liban.

Origin of the species name

Cedrus is Latin for the cedar; libani is from Latin meaning 'of Lebanon'.



Date planted

November 2011


Some of the trees in Becharri grove in Lebanon are thought to be between 1000 and 2000 years old.

Pollen cones Lebanese cedar

General description 

This is an evergreen conifer. Its trunk can be up to 3 m in diameter with dark grey, fissured bark. The crown develops into a wide umbrella shape with thick and horizontal branches. The mature needles are on short shoots, usually stiff and dark green, stiff. The cones are erect and about 8-10cm long. Height 25m Spread 20m.

Natural distribution and habitat  

This subspecies is native to Turkey and the Middle East where it grows in the mountains of the eastern Mediterranean region between 1,300 and 2,100 m elevation.  

Conservation status

This subspecies is not considered threatened, but its natural distribution has been greatly reduced and the population in the mountains of Lebanon is now isolated from the main range of the species.

Planting pattern

Planted in an irregular pattern of curved and straight rows.


This species is often mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible and it has been an economically important tree to many ancient civilizations. The Egyptians used to mummify their dead and the First Temple of Solomon was built from its timber. It was used for the construction of temples, palaces, and boats. The pitch of the cedar was utilized for easing the pain of toothaches and it was said that the sawdust of the cedar removes snakes. An emblem of the Lebanese cedar is featured on the Lebanese flag.

Further reading

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

Cedar of Lebanon Tree Story by Susan Parsons.