Cedrus libani / Cedar of Lebanon

Cedrus libani, as described in 1823 by French botanist Achille Richard (1794 - 1852), in Dictionnaire classique d'histoire naturelle, 3rd edition, is commonly known as Cedar of Lebanon or Lebanon cedar. This conifer is the national emblem of Lebanon, and is prominent both on the Lebanese flag its coat of arms.

There are two recognized subspecies:

  • Cedrus libani subsp. libani, the type which is described here.
  • Cedrus libani subsp. stenocoma

Some botanists also classify the Cypriot cedar (Cedrus brevifolia) and Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica) as subspecies of C. libani. However, a majority of the modern sources consider them distinct species.

© Devon Gardens Trust
© Devon Gardens Trust

Description. Cedar of Lebanon is an evergreen coniferous species of tree which that grows to mature heights of 65 to 90 feet (20 – 40 m) tall with a trunk up to 10 feet (3 m) in diameter, measured at breast height.

  • The tree's crown is dense, pyramidal in youth, developing a wide umbrella shape with age.
  • Bark is dark gray and fissured.
  • Branches are very thick, long, on young trees, ascending at first, later becoming horizontal.
  • Shoots are glabrous or slightly pubescent.
  • Needles are produced on short shoots, in tufts of 30 to 40, usually stiff, and dark green in color. Individual needles measure 0.6 to 1.4 inches (1.5 – 3.5 cm) long, about 0.04 inch (1 mm) wide, and are acuminate, and 4-sided.
  • Pollen cone "Flowering" occurs from June to September.
  • Seed cones are erect, with a flat or slightly concave apex, measuring 3.2 to 4 inches (8 - 10 cm) long and 1.6 to 2.4 inches (4 – 6 cm) broad, brown in color, and resinous. Cones ripen from August to October; shedding seeds until spring.
  • Seeds measure 0.6 to 0.7 inch (15 – 18 mm) in size with a 1 inch (25 mm) long wing.

Distribution. This species is originally native to Asia Minor. Currently found in Syria, and Lebanon — the Jebel Alaonite mountains, where it is now very rare (according to Paule (1975) there are about 2,000 to 3,000 hectares of forests of this species), but it is still plentiful in the Taurus and Cilician Taurus in Turkey. It grows at elevations of 4,000 to 6,500 feet (1,300 - 2,100 m) above sea level.

Attribution from: Vidakovic, Mirko. ©1991. Conifers: morphology and variation. Translated from Croatian by Maja Soljan. Croatia: Graficki Zavod Hrvatske.

Cedrus libani Green Industry Images Copyrighted Photo; Donated by Ernie Wiegand.
Photo by Ernie Wiegand
Cedrus libani Green Industry Images Copyrighted Photo; Donated by Ernie Wiegand.
Photo by Ernie Wiegand
Shattered cone of Cedrus libani.
Photo by Phil Syphrit/Cornell Plantations
Cedrus libani — ancient specimens growing in habitat.
Photo by Akkin Semerci
Cedrus libani (Cedar of Lebanon) at the Arnold Arboretum 1906 at Highland Park Arboretum, Rochester, New York
Photo by Dennis Groh
Cones on Cedrus libani (Cedar of Lebanon) from the Arnold Arboretum 1906 at Highland Park Arboretum, Rochester, New York.
Photo by Dennis Groh


Edriss Charaf

Would you please recommend the place to by Cedrus libani plants or seeds. Tank you.

Maxwell Cohn

plants are available at nearly every decent garden center. I have no idea where you are, so it's difficult to get more specific. Scheffield's has seed available.


I am located in the St. Paul, MN area. Thank you very much for the info.

Maxwell Cohn

ah, that's why you can't find it. No way that plant is hardy in MN.


Edriss it's a Mediterranean tree. It doesn't like weather below freezing!

Edriss Charaf

Thank you all the replies and appreciate the input. Edriss.

Kenneth Lockridge

The Arboretum of Virginia in Berryville has a long row of mature cedars of Lebanon (70 - 80 years old?), and the Hampton estate in Towson, MD, has a HUGE one (180 years old?) https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/24280192083/in/photostream/!

Owen Kelly

How about Nevada? Plenty between 3k &5k ft. Might not get the moisture needs. But there might be some pockets of the Sierra that could host it.

Mark Solomon

Will the Cedus libani grow in Northern Indiana. ?

Maxwell Cohn

as long as it doesn't get below 10°F and humidity stays fairly low, it'll do fine.

Jay Park

There is a magnificent Cedrus lebanii stenocoma 'Purdue Hardy' across the street from the Veterinary College on the Horticulture side that was planted from seed in the 1950's. It has braved -25 degrees and -80 wind chill with no severe desiccation back in the 1970's. We have one grafted in 2000 and it had no damage from the two Polar Vortex winters of 2013 and 2014 in Z5a Carmel, IN. I just sent a box of scion to Gary Gee at Gee Farm, Stockbridge, MI to graft. Feb 22, 2022

George Fares

I live 20 miles from Boston MA, where can I find this beautiful Lebanese tree? I want some information about it, please. Thank you

Muhamad Fadilah

can i grow it in tropical climate zone?

Maxwell Cohn

almost certainly not ... it does best in Mediterranean climate and does poorly in places with high humidity and excessive rainfall.

Harry Osborn

I live on the a rural area north of Cheyenne, WY at +/- 6200 msl. Brutal winds at times and one of the worst areas of the country for hail storms but high humidity and excessive rainfall will never be problems. Could never meet the Greater Than 10 Degrees F Standard around here but I've visited some of the Lebanese Cedar groves in Lebanon and I'm not sure some of those sites could either. Would it be a lost cause to try to grow one here?

Sara Malone

Well...you'll never know until you try. The key is going to be getting them large enough so that they have enough mass. That way, if there is some dieback in winter, they will still pull through. Try to protect them the first few winters, especially from the wind.

Harry Osborn

Thanks, Sara. I believe I have a couple promising spots in the lee of the shelter belt that should make it worth trying.

George Jawde

Cedars Of Lebanon are mentioned in the Bible more than 70 times.
They are so hardy & smell so good, temple of Solomon was built from its wood, because it does not rot.
In lebanon it lives on top of a mountain 10,000 ft above sea level.
Accordingly, it will live anywhere that is cold.
years ago In found someone in Northern California with a nursery that cultivates them, I hope I can find them again.