23. Atlas Cedar

(Cedrus atlantica)

Family: Pinaceae


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Alone on the edge of lawn next to Suzzallo Library's tower is a landmark evergreen with a massive, pillar-upright trunk, from which arch forth irregular boughs laden with short, sharply tufted needles and avocado-sized cones. It is relatively rare to see such Atlas Cedars, since people usually plant powder blue varieties of the species. This tree derives its name from the Atlas Mountains of Algeria and Morocco where it thrives in the hot, dry climate better than most conifers.


Atlas cedar is closely related to Deodar Cedar and Cedar of Lebanon, and some people even consider it to be a subspecies of the Cedar of Lebanon. The form of all three species is comparatively spidery, with remarkably "reaching" limbs giving it an open, jagged silhouette. The wood is fragrant and durable and often used for veneers and construction. Essential oils derived from this tree acts as an insect repellent, and the wood has also been used to make insect repelling containers for storing textiles.

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