Cedrus libani or atlantica

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by Dixie, Jan 16, 2007.

  1. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    is there an obvious identification element i am missing to be able to distinguish between Cedrus libani or atlantica? they seem so similar and i have consulted Dirr's "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants" and it says they are so similar that some botanists suggest the slight differences are because of geographic location. Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    When these are present, hairiness of cone scales may be useful. Sharp, clear spine on tip of needles has also been claimed to be a marker for Cedar-of-Lebanon. It certainly tends to be stiff and prickly, even cactoid. Atlas cedar seems to be fairly consistent about having shorter, broader, softer needles on more pliant branches, on a less tabular tree. The Cedar-of-Lebanon traps snow around the cones with its flat branches, so these soften and open. This tree can have a see-through appearance that Atlas cedars may lack, due to them not having the branches as concentrated into flat layers.

    Cedar-of-Lebanon from now largest, Turkish population intermediate in character. Cultivation of specimens or strains of different origins (Morocco, Turkey, Himalaya) in proximity, growing and distribution of plants grown from seeds produced by such may have also resulted in some intermediates (hybrids) being around.

    A case can be made for having only two species, Mediterranean and Himalayan. This was pointed out in print at least as long ago as the 1940s. Recently authors listing Atlas cedar (and Cyprus cedar) as varieties of Cedar-of-Lebanon seems to have picked up more momentum, resulting unfortunately in some confusion of the treatment of cultivars.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2007
  3. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    wow, thank you Ron B. that really does help. I do believe it is libani. It wasn't quite striking me as atlantica. I truly do appreciate your great answer. Thanks!
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Some references (in chronological order) supporting treatment of Atlas Cedar and/or Cyprus Cedar as a variety or subspecies of C. libani:

    Hooker, J. D. (1862). On the Cedars of Lebanon, Taurus, Algeria and India. Nat. Hist. Rev. 2: 11-18.

    Battander, J.-A. & Trabut, L. (1905). Flora de l'Algérie.

    Holmboe, J (1914). Vegetation of Cyprus (Pinaceae). Bergen Mus. Skr. n.s. 1: 28-30

    Schwarz, O. (1944). Anatolica. Feddes Repertorium 54: 26-34.

    Coode, M. J. E. & Cullen, J. (1965). Flora of Turkey 1: 71-72.

    Meikle, R. D. (1977). Flora of Cyprus.

    Browicz, K. & Zielinski, J. (1982). Chorology of Trees and Shrubs in southwest Asia, vol. 1.

    Greuter, W., Burdet, H. M., & Long, G. (eds.), (1984). Med-Checklist – A critical inventory of vascular plants of the circum-mediterranean countries.

    Frankis, M. P. & Lauria, F. (1994). The maturation and dispersal of cedar cones and seeds. International Dendrology Society Yearbook 1993: 43-46.

    Güner, A., Özhatay, N., Ekim, T., & Baser, K. H. C. (ed.). (2000). Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands 11 (Supplement 2): 5-6.

    Generally, it is botanists dealing with technical floras who support this treatment, presumably because they are the people who have better experience of the variability of cedars in the wild. The main problem is that cedars in cultivation are derived from a very limited gene base from only a small number of seed collections (H. Gaussen [1964], Trav. Lab. For. Toulouse T2 V1 11: 295-320), so they do not show the full range of variation; this makes it possible to identify cultivated cedars on the basis of artificial distinctions that don't exist when a larger sample of wild trees is examined.

    Sorry, doesn't apply to photos of wild trees I've seen, which look just as tabular as the trees I've seen in Turkey. It certainly also shares the winter snow-assisted cone breakup and seed dispersal with typical C. libani.

    I also checked a selection of my cones and shed cone scales of each, and couldn't find any differences in hairiness.
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Then what was the hairiness feature you've been talking about elsewhere?

    Habitat photos I've seen of Atlas cedars, while few have shown trees with the same branching of those here. The planes of growth run together more, as with Himalayan cedar. Some Cedar-of-Lebanon look like they are holding tennis rackets.
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Wasn't aware that I had!?! Could it be someone else? The only cedar cone feature I've mentioned is that var. stenocoma tends to have narrower cones than var. libani (pic below is a couple of extreme examples selected to show the maximum difference; they also overlap a lot too).
     

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  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I ran into the 1998 version of the Dirr manual at Half Price Books last night, picked it up. He states the stenocoma is more prickly than the typical variety.
     
  8. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    okay, here are actual pictures of the tree in question. the color doesn't look blue enough to be atlantica, but i'm not for sure.
     

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  9. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    In photo #4, are those the male cones?? The seed bearing female cones shouldn't fall off the tree whole like that, they disintegrate and leave a vertical spike on the tree.

    Simon
     
  10. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    yes, those are in photo 4. in photo 3 you can barely see the female cones starting to form, maybe 1/2 inch long so far.
     
  11. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    From what I can see here I would call this an Atlas cedar. The extra blue ones are blue Atlas cedar, it sounds like you have confused this with Atlas cedar. Not being strongly blue does not make it something other than an Atlas cedar. All of the true cedars occur in green, blue and in-between.
     
  12. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    thanks for letting me know. i didn't know that. i appreciate your time on this.
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    If you have access to a collection, such as a public garden with fairly reliable labeling and examples of true cedars, collect cone and foliage samples from the tree in question and compare these with the cones and foliage of the labeled trees elsewhere. This approach can be quite illuminating.

    While the bark, crown habit and bluntish (broad) needle shape of the tree being investigated is like that of Atlas cedar, the manner in which the foliage is dusted with silver, rather than uniformly silvery or green is quite like that of some somewhat older Cedar-of-Lebanon seen here (and in photos). A grizzly bear of a tree, in more ways than one. A "twig test", the procedure described above would probably make it instantly clear where this one falls.
     
  14. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    That sounds great. This has been a tricky one to figure out. It is quite a lovely site though.
     

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