Cedrus Deodora – Deodar cedar

Cedrus Deodora cedrus deodara

Botanical Name : CEDRUS DEODoRAFamily Name : ZINGIBERACEAE

Common Name : CEDARWOOD, CEDARWOOD OIL

Part Used: Rhizomes

Habitat: Grows wild in damp deciduous forests

Uses : Bark of the herb is a good remedy in remittent and intermittent fevers, diarrhea and dysentery. The powder is used in the treatment of ulcers. It is particularly valuable for the treatment of bilious fevers and inveterate diarrhea arising from atony of the muscular fiber.

Cedarwood oil, extracted from the herb, is used for catarrhal conditions of the respiratory tract. It is an expectorant. It is also useful for ulcers and skin diseases.

Cedarwood oils each have characteristic woody odours which may change somewhat in the course of drying out. The crude oils are often yellowish or even darker in colour and some, such as Texas cedarwood oil, are quite viscous and deposit crystals on standing. They find use (sometimes after rectification) in a range of fragrance applications such as soap perfumes, household sprays, floor polishes and insecticides. Small quantities are used in microscope work as a clearing oil.

In India, Cedrus deodara oil has been shown to possess insecticidal and antifungal properties and to have some potential for control of fungal deterioration of spices during storage. However, its commercial use for this purpose remains, at present, speculation.

Common Names

Deodar, Himalaya cedar (Vidakovic 1991).

Taxonomic notes

Syn: C. indica Chambray; Cedrus libani var. deodara Hook. (Vidakovic 1991).

Description

“A tree up to 50 m high and up to 3 m in diameter. Crown conical when young, with drooping leader and branches drooping at the end (Fig. 67), older trees rounded. Branches horizontally arranged, and end of the shoots pendulous. One-year shoots densely pubescent. Needles blue-green, about 30 in a cluster, 3-5 cm long, acuminate. Flowers appear in September and October. Cones solitary or in pairs. ovate or barrel-shaped. 7-10 cm long, 5-6 cm wide, rounded at the apex, bluish when young, reddish-brown when ripe; maturing from September to November; the seed is shed from September to December; seed scales 5-6 cm wide, usually glabrous on the upper side. Seed about 17 mm long, about 6 mm wide; wing large, light brown” (Vidakovic 1991).

Range

India and Pakistan: W Himal and S slopes of the Hindu Kush (Silba 1986, Vladimir Dinets e-mail 2-Jan-1998) at 1100-3000 m, “usually on silicate mother rocks. … The best trees are found on deep, well-drained soils. High atmospheric moisture is favourable. It is tolerant to shade, but young trees are prone to injury from frosts and cold wind” (Vidakovic 1991). It is a component of the temperate forest, usually on north-facing valley slopes, where rainfall ranges from less than 1000 mm per year up to 2500 mm per year, mostly in the form of winter snow. In these forests C. deodara is associated with a wide array of conifers and some broadleaf trees. Species present may include Pinus wallichiana, Taxus baccata, Picea smithiana, Abies spectabilis, and Abies pindrow, as well as species of Quercus, Rhododendron, Acer, Corylus, Aesculus and Betula. At somewhat lower and drier (precipitation less than 1000 mm/year, mostly as snow) elevations it commonly occurs with Pinus gerardiana, Quercus ilex and Juniperus excelsa subsp. polycarpos (Bhattacharyya et al. 1988).

Big Tree

A specimen at Via A. Rossi, Veneto, Piovene Rocchette, Italy has a 279 cm dbh and is 26 m tall. Another at parco del Castello, Piemonte, Italy is 45 m tall with a dbh of 177 cm (CFDS). Bhattacharyya et al. (1988) report wild specimens up to 11 meters in girth (approx. 350 cm dbh), but provide no supporting data.

Oldest

Bhattacharyya et al. (1988) report a sample with 900 rings, but provide no further information. A cross-section displayed at the timber museum of F.R.I. Dehra Dun is 280 cm across with 704 rings (Robert Van Pelt e-mail 4-Feb-2004); Bhattacharyya et al. (1988) report this same sample, citing Gamble (1902), as having 660 rings. There is also a recent report of a tree-ring chronology covering 745 years; if based on living trees, this may include the oldest known living C. deodara (Yadav and Bhattacharyya 1992).

Dendrochronology

Two exploratory studies by Bhattacharyya et al. (1988, 1992) found that samples from sites in India (Kashmir) and western Nepal provided long records, crossdated well, and contained significant variance attributable to climate. A variety of further studies have also been done, mostly by Bhattacharyya and Yadav; for details see the Bibliography of Dendrochronology.

Ethnobotany

Is an important timber tree in India. In the West, is widely planted as an ornamental in Europe (Vidakovic 1991) and the western U.S.

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Maria

Maria is currently growing everything from seed that she can lay her hands on. Also playing with colours and textures to fulfill her garden desires...