Atlas Cedar - Cedrus atlantica

A few weeks ago I was able to visit Stanley Park in Vancouver BC. While walking around the park I came across a large Atlas Cedar tree (above). A small label on the tree identified the species as "Cedrus atlantica". Some sources however classify this tree as a subspecies of the Cedar of Lebanon "Cedrus Libani var. atlantica".

The image above illustrates how the short needles of the Atlas Cedar grow on small "rosettes" (small clusters of needles on the end of a short stem). It is very difficult to distinguish between this tree and its close cousin the Lebanese Cedar due to the fact that they have approximately the same number of needles per rosette and and the needles are the same length. The needle length is about 3/4 of an inch (2cm) with about 30 needles per rosette.

The seed cones of the Atlas Cedar stand upright on the branches much like fir cones. They are about 3-3.5 inches tall and 2-2.5 inches wide.

One curious thing about these cones is their habit of breaking off at the top when they start to disintegrate. It is quite common to find the tops of the cones are the ground that look like little dried roses.
The pollen cones are smaller with a shape quite similar to other evergreen trees.

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