Today's plant of the Day is again a conifer. This time, it's Cedrus atlantica (Endl.) Manetti with the cultivar of “Glauca”. In Germany, we call this species “Blau-Zeder” or “Atlas-Zeder” while English speaking people, maybe know it as “Atlas Cedar”. It belongs to the Pinaceae family.
C. atlantica - habitus
It's a large, evergreen tree, which can reach a maximum height of 40 metres. The stem has 2 metres in diameter, while the tree crown is pyramidal. The bark of young trees is greyish and smooth while the bark of older trees is darker and more fibrous. Branches and needles are reminiscent of a larch (Larix decidua).
C. atlantica - Short shoots, long shoots and needles
The dark-green to blue-green (at the cultivar “glauca”) needles are arranged in clusters on short shoots, which are growing in alternatinf rows on the long shoots. Because of this. C. atlantica can be confused with the larch, but latter isn't evergreen.
C. atlantica - female cone (second year) at the end
of a short shoot
C, atkantica is monoicous with male and female flowers on the same tree at the end of short shoots. Male cones are yellowish and cylindrical. Female cones are growing upright and are barrel-shaped with a flat top. They have a greenish colour in the first year and a glossy, brown color in the second. They dissolve after ripening.
C. atlantica - the bark
This species is native to the Atlas Mountains in North Africa. (Algeria and Morocco), where the species forms pure stocks in heights between 1000 and 2000 metres. However, today it can also be found in many other parts of the world as ornamental tree. In this case, it's often the cultivar “glauca” with its charismatic, blue-green needles. The reason for is, that the cultivar tolerates frost better than the wild form.