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.

David Olszyk

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.

David Olszyk

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

Sara Malone

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. ?

David Olszyk

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

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?

David Olszyk

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