This aromatic member of the cypress family
grows to 150 feet (46 meters). The foliage forms flat sprays that often
have a vertical
orientation, unlike western
which has drooping sprays with a horizontal orientation.
has small, flat scale-like leaves forming overlapping, long,
joints. The leaves are often described as forming the shape of a wine
glass, but beer drinkers would swear that the are shaped like a beer
glass. This pattern, often
outlined in white, is distinct to incense cedar. The
release a distinctive aroma when crushed.
that distinguish incense cedar leaves and bark from other cedars may be
but incense cedar cones are unmistakably unique. They are shaped like a
duck's bill, and when they mature, they
open, showing the open bill with its tongue sticking out.
reddish-brown bark looks similar to the bark of the other native
but it is deeply furrowed on large trees.
it grows: Incense cedar grows in the Cascades at
elevations up to 6000 feet (1800 meters). A
grow nearly as far north as Mount Hood but it grows more extensively as
you travel south through the Cascades to the Siskiyous and coastal
mountains of southwest Oregon. It also grows in many mountainous areas
were once made from incense cedar. It was also used to make aromatic
chests. It is often grown as an ornamental, and is used in Christmas
wreaths. Its bright yellow pollen cones ripen in late fall, just in
time to give Christmas wreaths tiny bursts of bright color.
means "beautiful cedar." Decurrens
extend down the stem. The English form of the word is "decurrent."
Other common names: White cedar and California post cedar.
Note that incense cedar
is not a true cedar. That is,
its genus is not Cedrus,
the genus of the true
cedars from the Middle East and Himalayas.
Some writers indicate this by writing
name as "incense-cedar."