Cedar Identification

  1. Deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara): the largest, most common, and easiest to recognize of the true cedars. Its needles are 1 to 2 inches long and are yellow-green to blue-green in color. Needles are borne in dense clusters on large, woody pegs, except near the tips of branches, where they're borne individually. Branch tips and the leader droop noticeably, similar to western hemlock. Deodar cedar is native to the Himalayan Mountains of northern India.
  2. Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica): similar to Deodar cedar except that it has shorter needles (about 1" long) and slightly smaller cones (2-3" long). In addition, its needles have a blue-green color and a white bloom. Atlas cedar is named for the Atlas Mountains of northern Africa; also called Atlantic cedar.
  3. Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani): nearly identical to Atlas cedar. Both exhibit a stiff branching habit and have blue-green needles about 1" long. Cedar of Lebanon has slightly larger cones (3-4" long). This tree is native to Asia Minor, and was reportedly used to build King Solomon's temple.
  4. Incense-cedar (Calocedrus): all members of this genus have cones shaped like a duck's bill when closed, and a flying goose when open; yellow-green when young, but brown when they mature.
  5. Western red-cedar (Thuja plicata): all members of this genus have cones shaped like tiny rose buds, or the bowl of a smoker's pipe; yellow green when young, but brown when mature.
  6. white-cedar or false cypress (Chamaecyparis): all members of this genus have small, round, woody cones; green or blue when young, but brown and woody when mature.
  7. Alaska yellow-cedar Callitropsis nootkatensis
Source: OSU Common Trees of PNW external arrow,