The Trees at Keele

Incense Cedar Calocedrus decurrens

Incense Cedar

A native of USA from mid-Oregon to southern California, it was introduced to the UK in 1853. In the UK it grows rather upright and narrow (pencil-shaped) but has more spreading branches in the wild.

In the wild it can grow to 40-60m with a trunk of 3m diameter. The bark is reddish brown with large spongy plates; the leaves in sprays, rich matt green with no white marks beneath. The crushed foliage has a smell of shoe polish.

Uses: much of the timber goes in to pencil production but its rich colour and aromatic fragrance make it popular for interior panelling. The outstanding durability and resistance to decay of timber from the heartwood make it ideal for exterior use where moisture is present.

Location : two specimens in the Special Collection by the Memorial Garden; square K11; tags 0011 and 0019.