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  • Botany

Lebanon cedar

The Lebanon cedar is a beautiful tree measuring between 20 and 30 metres in height with an imposing circumference which can, in certain conditions, reach up to 4 metres!


This species (Cedrus libani), belongs to the Pinaceae family.

Botanical description

The trunk of the Lebanon cedar is almost always divided into several large branches which divide into horizontal branches, forming a table at the top. Its bark is dark grey, smooth and shiny, and cracks over time into small scales. Its persistent foliage is of prickly 3 centimetre needles of a triangular cross section and grouped into bundles on short branches. It blooms in September - October unlike most conifers, which bloom during the springtime. Its male flowers are brown, elongated and cone-shaped catkins, while its greenish, small spherical female flowers appear at the end of short branches. Its fruit are erect 10-centimetre cones. They flake away on the tree in three years only leaving the central, empty stem.

Cedrus libani
Cedrus libani. © Maggie and her camera, Flickr CC by nc 3.0


According to the Bible, this tree prospered in the Middle East and especially Lebanon where it gets its name from, a country where only sparse forestsremain today. This cedar was introduced into Europe in 1650, and the story goes that in 1734, the famous French botanist Jussieu brought back a seedling by hiding it in his hat! Today this species prospers in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris.

Tronc du cèdre du Liban
Trunk of the Lebanon cedar. © Soil-net Library, by nc-sa 2.0

Growing conditions

The Lebanon cedar can grow at altitudes of up to 1,200 m in association with other conifers. It is not very demanding in terms of soil, but prefers sunny locations and suffers in stagnant humid conditions. It needs a mix of sandy soil.


This tree is essentially used for ornamental purposes. Its young spring shoots are used in gemmotherapy.

Author: Michel Caron

Lebanon cedar. © Eljay, Flickr CC by 3.0 Lebanon cedar. © Eljay, Flickr CC by 3.0

Lebanon cedar - 3 Photos



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