Yews and Cedars of Lebanon

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by Eunice, Oct 25, 2006.

  1. Eunice

    Eunice Member

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    Is there some scientific name that covers trees with needles that do not produce cones - like the Yew with its berries and the Cedar of Lebanon with its catkins. Obviously the term conifers does not apply.
     
  2. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    The term conifer does still apply. Yews (Taxus sp.) are in the division Pinophyta, family Taxaceae and bear modified cones containing a single seed and surrounded by a modified scale that develops into a red berry like structure called an aril.

    Cedars (Cedrus) bear obvious cones, very similar to Firs (Abies), that fall apart when the cones are ripe. They are in the more familiar family Pinaceae which contains all the pines, spruces, firs, etc.

    Ginkgo, considered by some to be a conifer, is actually in the division Ginkgophyta, so it is not a conifer but it is a gymnosperm ('naked seed') as all conifers also are.

    Thank you Wikipedia.
    Simon
     
  3. Eunice

    Eunice Member

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    Thank you very much, Simon, for this information about the Yew.

    but you have not yet convinced me about the Cedrus libani. They seem so different from other cedars. At this time of year ours is raining down what looks exactly like catkins and where they fall is bright yellow from what looks like pollen.
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Cedar pollen cones do look a bit catkin-like, but they are cones.

    Er, no, not at all! This species actually defines what cedars are! If you have something that doesn't look like a Lebanon Cedar, then it isn't a cedar.
     
  5. globalist1789

    globalist1789 Active Member

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    Eunice is likely thinking of plant is the Family Cupressaceae. In particular Thuja, and others or often called "cedars".
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The Cupressaceae are cypresses, not cedars! If they are getting called cedars, that is a failure of education, and should be remedied.
     
  7. globalist1789

    globalist1789 Active Member

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    I know... it's all over the garden centres. If you know how to get them to stop putting common names on pots then please do so.

    M.
     
  8. Eunice

    Eunice Member

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    Thank you Michael for the information about the cones that appear to be catkins.

    I did learn some years back that our beloved native red cedars are thujas, but I just meant that the "cones" don't appear to be anything like the cones that I have ever seen before. This year the cones are specially thick on a neighbour's tree, and light up the whole tree. They lie thick and cushiony under my feet on the sidewalk and I come home with my shoes covered with yellow dust.

    We also have a Cedrus libani 'Glauca Pendula' but it doesn't seem to produce anything.

    Obviously I have a lot to learn (which I enjoy doing). I will try the Internet again. I tried a few years back and nothing indicated just what the cones are like. I hope that more information has been added since then. I see in another message on this site that squirrels were munching the cones, and the seeds are germinating inside. The squirrels haven't ever shown the slightest interest in ours but maybe there is enough other food around for them.

    I must bring in some of those cones to look at under a magnifying glass to see if that makes anything clearer to me. Everything I learn about them just makes me want to ask more questions. Like, is it really pollen, and why would it have pollen this time of the year?

    And come spring I will take a close look at catkins under a magnifying glass and see what I can learn from that to find out the difference.

    Again I thank you.
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The skinny pollen cones produce pollen, which fertilizes the small seed cones present at the same time. Over a period of some months these enlarge to become the woody, barrel-like seed cones you are expecting.

    If you have the common, tall, open scarecrow habit 'Glauca Pendula' it is actually a Himalayan cedar cultivar and not a Cedar-of-Lebanon.
     
  10. Eunice

    Eunice Member

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    Thank you very much, Ron.

    This certainly filled in the gap in my knowledge that others did not realize I had. It does not help that our tree is so huge that I can't even get a glimpse of the foliage from the upstairs porch. What falls to the ground is all the information that I can glean. What month should I be watching for the seed cones on the ground?

    Does this mean that all conifers have this separate pollen stage of which I was totally unaware?

    Now that I am too old to grub in the soil and since living with my daughter's family the garden is much too large, I keep looseleaf books and record everything I can learn about every plant in our garden - and pretend that I am gardening. The family gave me a digital camera for my birthday so that is an additional way for me to do it. I pretend to own the garden and the gardener and the designer, who are both full-blown horticulturists, treat me with the proper respect, listening to my suggestions, explaining to me everything that they are doing and pointing out to me anything interesting that I might have missed. Ah! it is the perfect way to garden.

    I believe that that is a good description of "my" 'Glauca Pendula' but I am sure that it must "add structure" to the garden. Would you still call it a Cedrus libani - like the tag said when it came?
     
  11. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yes, it is the male part of the life cycle, with the seed cones being the female. The pollen blows from the male cones to the female, where it fertilises the ovules in the young female cones; the ovules then develop into the seeds.
     
  12. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    If it's the common one it is not a Cedar-of-Lebanon and should be called what it is--a Himalayan cedar.
     
  13. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    to see cones on Cedrus, go to Riverview, there are a number of them there with the traditional large sticky cones.
     
  14. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Eunice, I'm so glad you asked this question as I was just sensing that I needed to do some review of the same topic - specifically regarding Yews.

    I would strongly recommend books as a source of information to supplement the internet, or vice versa really. There are some very good books on trees in Canada, one on trees of Vancouver.

    Riverview Tree Tours - last one is over for this year, but likely this website will be updated for next:
    http://rhcs.citysoup.ca/Tours/Default.htm
     
  15. Eunice

    Eunice Member

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    KarenL
    I did go on a tour of the Riverview trees a few years back when there was a big drive on to save the trees. I must go again - I was not thinking about cones at that time, just about how beautiful and rare the trees were and worth saving.
     
  16. Eunice

    Eunice Member

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    Thank you MichaelF for that clear explanation of the life cycle of conifers. I can see so much more when I know what I am looking for.
     
  17. Eunice

    Eunice Member

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    I hope this works and the picture is clear enough to be seen. Does this look like the Cedrus libani variety or a Himalayan cedar cultivar?
     

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  18. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    Isn't 'glauca pendula' a variety of C. atlantica (Atlas Cedar) which is sometimes considered as C. libani var. atlantica? I don't think C. deodara (Himalayan Cedar) has a 'glauca pendula' variety?

    Simon
     
  19. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes, yours is the very common weeping blue Atlas cedar. The misplaced Himalayan cedar is sold as a 'Glauca Pendula' cultivar of Lebanese cedar, that there is not a 'Glauca Pendula' Himalayan cedar does not affect this. If somebody publishes a paper on cultivars of true cedars where they point out that the one form is actually a Himalayan cedar, propose that the cultivar name be conserved then there will be a 'Glauca Pendula' Himalayan cedar.

    Two other Himalayan cedars common to local gardens are sold as weeping Lebanese cedars. One is a steel blue drooping small pyramid, often treelike but not tall and straight (unlike the scarecrow habit one commonly sold as 'Glauca Pendula'). One local college collection has this type labeled 'Glauca Pendula'. This could be from confusing it with the tall scarecrow, or maybe it's actually the other way around, this being the original 'Glauca Pendula' whose name was subsequently misapplied to the scarecrow.

    The third kind is the 'Repandens' Himalayan cedar cultivar of WB Clarke, California nurseryman who introduced many interesting trees to North American gardens. It has a variable, often at least partly horizontal or arching habit and distinctive forest green needles. It has been sold under multiple synonyms. You can see how this one at least would be mistaken for a Lebanese cedar because of its predominantly green coloring. However, as with the previous two if you take the time to examine a more-than-very-young specimen its correct species placement becomes obvious.

    Beacon Hill Park in Victoria has striking specimens of 'Repandens'. One is by itself, out by the main road. Doubtless multiple unauthorized propagations and trade synonyms (C. libani 'Beacon Hill' and C. libani 'Victoria Weeping', for instance) are the direct result of this plant's age and placement.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2006
  20. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    What variety of C. deodara are you refering to that resembles C. libani 'glauca pendula' (Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar)
     
  21. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    You are confusing Cedrus libani var. atlantica 'Glauca Pendula' with C. libani 'Glauca Pendula' hort. The latter is the scarecrow (or totem) habit Himalayan cedar.
     
  22. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    C. libani is not the Himalayan cedar, as C. libani range does not extend anywhere near the Himalayas. The furthest east you find C. libani is in Turkey/Syria.

    Himalayan Cedar and Deodar Cedar are the same tree...C. deodara.
     
  23. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Hort. = 'of gardens'. The tree sold as C. libani 'Glauca Pendula' (and vice versa, as well) is incorrectly placed (under C. libani) in common practice, as are the other two Himalayan cedars described above. The last does have a known correct, original name (C. deodara 'Repandens'). If the other two were originally called by legitimate cultivar names, under the right species (C. deodara) these names are not readily encountered now.

    C. libani 'Glauca Pendula' hort. is also sold as C. libani 'Pendula', as is the steel blue, small pyramidal tree. This, of course, begs confusion with the small, creeping shrublike C. libani 'Pendula' thought to really belong to that species.
     
  24. Eunice

    Eunice Member

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    Hi Ron,
    Thank you for that information - I think.

    So, I call it the same thing, but know it is something different - at least I will not be watching for "catkins" like the Cedar of Lebanon.
     

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