Blue Cedar (Cedrus atlantica glauca)

The Blue Cedar is a striking evergreen conifer native to the Atlas mountains in Morocco. English botanist P.B. Web discovered the tree in 1827 on a visit to Tangier. By the 1840's, they were being grown in the UK and were later introduced successfully to the United States also.

Our ‘glauca’ variety is distinctive due to its silvery-blue needles which are spiralling and 2 to 2.5 cm long. The needles form short shoots in dense, rosette-like clusters set against the dark grey, fissured bark which flakes into plates as the tree matures. It produces oval shaped cones that can be up to 9cm long and appear in late summer. The cones break up while still on the tree releasing the seeds to the ground unprotected.

Photo credit: Aaron Matchett, C.S. Lewis Square

Did you know…

A blue cedar grows on the south lawn of the White House. Former President Carter designed a tree house around the tree and had it built for his daughter.

Where to find it?

The steely blue foliage on this superb evergreen conifer makes it a stand out when on its own as a specimen tree but we have planted them along with our white birch to create a year round winter landscape at the Holywood Arches side of C.S Lewis Square.

Photo credit: Paul Hunter, C.S. Lewis Square

Planting the Blue Cedars around Ross Wilson's The Searcher sculpture allows visitors to enter the Square as the characters do in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Even on the warmest summer days the pale, stiff blue needles appear frozen in clusters along the horizontal branches replicating the chill of a winter in Narnia and reminding us…

“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.” 
― C.S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Be Part of it...

As always send us your pictures or drawings of what you are seeing growing on the greenway. And if you have any requests for a future What’s Growing plant on the Greenway let us know.