Cedrus deodara

Cedrus deodara
Deodar Cedar
Adult Deodar trees at a forest location in Himachal Pradesh, India.
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Cedrus
Species: C. deodara
Binomial name
Cedrus deodara
(Roxb.) G.Don

Cedrus deodara (Deodar Cedar, Himalayan Cedar, or Deodar; Sanskrit, Hindi: देवदार devadāru; Urdu: ديودار deodār; Chinese: 雪松 xue song) is a species of cedar native to the western Himalayas in eastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, north-central India (Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand), southwesternmost Tibet and western Nepal, occurring at 1500–3200 m altitude. It is a large evergreen coniferous tree reaching 40–50 m tall, exceptionally 60 m, with a trunk up to 3 m diameter. It has a conic crown with level branches and drooping branchlets.[1]

The leaves are needle-like, mostly 2.5–5 cm long, occasionally up to 7 cm long, slender (1 mm thick), borne singly on long shoots, and in dense clusters of 20-30 on short shoots; they vary from bright green to glaucous blue-green in colour. The female cones are barrel-shaped, 7–13 cm long and 5–9 cm broad, and disintegrate when mature (in 12 months) to release the winged seeds. The male cones are 4–6 cm long, and shed their pollen in autumn.[1]



The specific epithet, which is also the English vernacular name, derives from the Sanskrit term devadāru, which means "wood of the gods", a compound of deva (god) and dāru (wood, etym. tree). This tree is also the national tree of the country Pakistan (پٵݣݭݓٳݔ)

Cultural importance in the Indian subcontinent

Among Hindus, as the etymology of deodar suggests, it is worshiped as a divine tree. Deva, the first half of the Sanskrit term, means divine, deity, or deus. Dāru, he second part, connotes durum, druid, tree, true.[2][3]

Several Hindu legends refer to this tree. For example, Valmiki Ramayan – Kishkinda khanda- stanza 4-43-13 reads:[4]

lodhra padmaka khaNDeSu devadaaru vaneSu ca | raavaNaH saha vaidehyaa maargitavyaa tataH tataH || || 4-43-13

That means “In the stands of Lodhra trees, Padmaka trees and in the woods of Devadaru, or Deodar trees, Ravana is to be searched there and there, together with Seetha. [4-43-13]”

Forests full of deodar or devadāru trees were the favorite living place of ancient Indian sages and their families who were devoted to the Hindu god Shiva. To please Lord Shiva, the sages used to perform very difficult tapasya (meditation) practices in deodar forests. Also the ancient Hindu epics and Shaivite texts regularly mention Darukavana, meaning a forest of deodars, as a sacred place.

The deodar tree is the national tree of Pakistan.

Cultivation and uses

Cedrus deodara00.jpg

It is widely grown as an ornamental tree, often planted in parks and large gardens for its drooping foliage. General cultivation is limited to areas with mild winters, with trees frequently killed by temperatures below about −25 °C, limiting it to hardiness zones 8 and warmer for reliable growth.[5] It is commonly grown in western Europe (north to Scotland), in the Mediterranean region, around the Black Sea, in southern and central China, on the west coast of North America as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia, in the southeastern United States from Texas to Virginia, South Africa also in some parts of Australia .

The most cold-tolerant trees originate in the northwest of the species' range in Kashmir and Paktia Province, Afghanistan. Selected cultivars from this region are hardy to zone 7 or even zone 6 [USDA zone, UK zone, which one?], tolerating temperatures down to about −30 °C.[5] Named cultivars from this region include 'Eisregen', 'Eiswinter', 'Karl Fuchs', 'Kashmir', 'Polar Winter', and 'Shalimar'.[6][7] Of these, 'Eisregen', 'Eiswinter', 'Karl Fuchs', and 'Polar Winter' were selected in Germany from seed collected in Paktia; 'Kashmir' was a selection of the nursery trade, whereas 'Shalimar' originated from seeds collected in 1964 from Shalimar Gardens, Pakistan (in the Kashmir region) and propagated at the Arnold Arboretum.[6]

Construction material

Deodar is in great demand as building material because of its durability, rot-resistant character and fine, close grain, which is capable of taking a high polish. Its historical use to construct religious temples and in landscaping around temples is well recorded. Its rot-resistant character also makes it an ideal wood for constructing the well-known houseboats of Srinagar, Kashmir. In Pakistan and India, during the British colonial period, deodar wood was used extensively for construction of barracks, public buildings, bridges, canals and railway cars.[3] Despite its durability, it is not a strong timber, and its brittle nature makes it unsuitable for delicate work where strength is required, such as chair-making.

Herbal Ayurveda

The curative properties of Deodar are well recorded in Pakistani and Indian Ayurvedic medicines, which are indicated below.[3][8]

The inner wood is aromatic and used to make incense. Inner wood is distilled into essential oil. As insects avoid this tree, the essential oil is used as insect repellent on the feet of horses, cattle and camels. It also has antifungal properties and has some potential for control of fungal deterioration of spices during storage. The outer bark and stem are astringent.[9]

Cedar oil is often used for its aromatic properties, especially in aromatherapy. It has a characteristic woody odour which may change somewhat in the course of drying out. The crude oils are often yellowish or darker in colour. Its applications cover soap perfumes, household sprays, floor polishes and insecticides and is also used in microscope work as a clearing oil.[9]


See also


  1. ^ a b Farjon, A. (1990). Pinaceae. Drawings and Descriptions of the Genera. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3-87429-298-3.
  2. ^ http://plainfieldtrees.blogspot.com/2007/06/cedars-gods-and-gilgamesh.html Plainfield trees.
  3. ^ a b c <http://jcmcgowan.blogspot.com/2008/03/blog-post.html Edmund Hillary Foundation, World Wildlife Fund-The Deodar Tree: the Himalayan "Tree of God"
  4. ^ http://www.valmikiramayan.net/kishkindha/sarga43/kishkindha_43_frame.html Valmiki Ramayan – Kishkinda khanda
  5. ^ a b Ødum, S. (1985). Report on frost damage to trees in Denmark after the severe 1981/82 and 1984/85 winters. Hørsholm Arboretum, Denmark.
  6. ^ a b Welch, H., & Haddow, G. (1993). The World Checklist of Conifers. Landsman's ISBN 0-900513-09-8.
  7. ^ Krüssmann, G. (1983). Handbuch der Nadelgehölze, 2nd ed. Paul Parey ISBN 3-489-62622-2 (in German).
  8. ^ http://www.herbalayurveda.com/herbdetail.asp?id=24, Herbal Ayurveda
  9. ^ a b http://www.fao.org/docrep/V5350e/V5350e12.htm Cedarwood Oils
  • Conifer Specialist Group (1998). Cedrus deodara. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006.

External Links

  • Caldecott, Todd (2006). Ayurveda: The Divine Science of Life. Elsevier/Mosby. ISBN 0723434107.  Contains a detailed monograph on Cedrus deodara (Devadaru) as well as a discussion of health benefits and usage in clinical practice. "The Divine Science of Life" online

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  • Cedrus Deodara — Deodar De o*dar , n. [Native name, fr. Skr. d[=e]vad[=a]ru, prop., timber of the gods.] (Bot.) A kind of cedar ({Cedrus Deodara}), growing in India, highly valued for its size and beauty as well as for its timber, and also grown in England as an… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Cedrus deodara — ID 16523 Symbol Key CEDE2 Common Name Deodar cedar Family Pinaceae Category Gymnosperm Division Coniferophyta US Nativity Introduced to U.S. US/NA Plant Yes State Distribution GA, NC, SC Growth Habit Tree Duration …   USDA Plant Characteristics

  • Cedrus deodara — …   Википедия

  • Cedrus deodara — noun tall East Indian cedar having spreading branches with nodding tips; highly valued for its appearance as well as its timber • Syn: ↑deodar, ↑deodar cedar, ↑Himalayan cedar • Hypernyms: ↑cedar, ↑cedar tree, ↑true cedar …   Useful english dictionary

  • Cedrus deodara (Roxb.) G. Don f. — Symbol CEDE2 Common Name Deodar cedar Botanical Family Pinaceae …   Scientific plant list

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