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What is Cedrus?

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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 04 December 2016
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Cedrus is the Latin name for the genus of evergreen trees that falls in the family Pinaceae. It is more commonly known by the name Cedar. There are four main species of trees that are in the Cedrus genus: C. atlantica, C. brevifolia, C. deodara, and C. libani. Generally, these evergreen trees have sharp, needle-like foliage and brown-colored cones. Although they originated in areas of the Mediterranean and the Western Himalayas, they can now be found in areas across North America, Europe and parts of Asia.

Typically, the trees that are in the genus Cedrus grow best in sunny areas. These trees can reach widths of 40 feet (12.2 m), so they need plenty of space to grow. In addition, they prefer to grow in soil that easily drains. There are certain diseases and pests, such as root rot, stem cankers, mealy bugs, and some caterpillars, that plight these coniferous trees as well.

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The various species of Cedrus have some similarities between them. For example, C. atlantica, or Atlas cedar, and C. brevifolia, or Cyrus cedar, are both capable of having bluish-green needles, while C. deodara, or Deodar cedar, and C.libani, or Cedar of Lebanon, each have brighter, green colored needles. Generally, all the species have brown colored cones that open approximately every two years to release new seeds to the ground for propagation. Most of the species that are part of this genus of trees can reach heights of more than 100 feet (30.48 m). Only the Cyprus cedar is shorter, only reaching heights of 50 to 80 feet (15.24 to 24.38 m).

The different species of Cedrus are popular trees for landscaping in mild climates. The wood and oil from the trees are commonly harvested as well. In fact, the smell of the timber from the Cedrus trees is believed to repel moths; consequently, closets in many homes are lined with cedar to keep moths away from wool sweaters and suits. The hardy wood is also used in making furniture because it has an attractive grain.

Some people use the oil from Cedrus to treat some medical ailments as well. It is believed to be a microbial and is sometimes used to treat a variety of skin infections. The oils are also believed to fight cancer, specifically cancer of the nasopharyngeal area. Although testing has yet to be conducted on humans, there have not been any significant side effects reported from using a concoction of the Cedrus bark on laboratory animals.

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