Cedar’s sea­sonal links

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sounds Good -

Iwrote about the char­ac­ter­is­tic straw­berry tree dur­ing Na­tional Tree Week in late Novem­ber and I am now writ­ing about a tree which has many strong links to this fes­tive sea­son – the cedar (right). Cedars be­long to the pine fam­ily, they are ev­er­green with tough nee­dles set in clus­ters or rosettes on short shoots, un­like the rows of nee­dles on a shoot of the fa­mil­iar pines. Cedars flower in Septem­ber, which is un­usual, and it takes two years for the fe­male pine cones to ripen. The cones are bar­rel shaped and are squat­like with big broad flat scales. The saplings can take up to 40 years be­fore they flower and can live for 500 years. Cedar wood has a rich brown coloura­tion and a fra­grant scent, pop­u­lar as an in­sect re­pel­lent. It gen­er­ates a fra­grant oil that makes it durable and the oil is dis­tilled for use in per­fumes. The wood was fre­quently used for build­ing of tem­ples and palaces in the Mid­dle East and the land­scape was changed over the cen­turies as the cedar woods were cut down to sup­ply de­mand. One type of cedar tree, the Cedar of Le­banon, was brought into Bri­tain in 1638 and be­came a favourite in park­lands and church­yards. Two other cedar species to be found in Bri­tain are the At­las cedar and the De­o­dar which have dif­fer­ent struc­tures to the tree and with slightly dif­fer­ent cone shapes, al­though they re­tain the dis­tinct bar­rel shape. A merry Christ­mas and a happy new year to every­one, and thanks for all the emails, let­ters and queries over the year.

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