Incense cedar is a large conifer that is popular as a yard tree thanks to its relatively narrow, ornamental crown of branches and drought tolerance. Its bark is smooth orange-brown when young and weathers grayish and fissured with age. The needles are arranged as fan-like, lustrous sprays that stay bright green throughout the year and the cones turn orange to yellow-brown when mature.
- Plant type/canopy layer: evergreen perennial large tree
- Size at maturity: 100-150ft tall, 30ft wide
- Light requirements: full to mostly sunny
- Moisture requirements: dry to moist soil, well-drained
- Bloom time: January
- Growth rate/ease: slow growing, easy to grow
- Wildlife support: Countless species of birds and mammals use this tree for foraging, roosting and nesting. It is also the preferred host of a wood wasp (Syntexis libocedrii), an evolutionarily ancient species which lays its eggs in the smoldering wood immediately after a forest fire (EMSWCD).
- Native habitat/range: Locally common in montane forests, mixed conifer forests, canyons and slopes, at altitudes between 2000 - 8000 ft, of the Coast Range, Cascades and Sierra Nevadas. Portland Plant List - no.
- Special features & uses: The wood is used for lumber, siding on houses and is the primary material for pencils, because it is soft and tends to sharpen easily without splintering. Drought tolerant.
Gardening with Incense Cedar: Incense cedar an attractive, popular, and extremely drought-tolerant yard tree. It will particularly thrive in full sun to partial shade in moist, well-drained soil.
Photo Credit 1: "File:100 2121 Calocedrus decurrens 3 mag 09 giardino di valsanzibio.jpg" by Stefano59Rivaraforcommons is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Photo Credit 2: "File:Pinetum Blijdestein - Calocedrus decurrens - Wierookceder (3).jpg" by Ellywa is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Photo Credit 3: "H20100410-2233--Calocedrus decurrens--UCBG" by John Rusk is licensed under CC BY 2.0Photo Credit 4: "150319 357 Carmel - Comfort Inn Carmel by the Sea, Calocedrus decurrens, Quercus agrifolia" by cultivar413 is licensed under CC BY 2.0