How to Recognize a Cedar Tree


As you wander, if you pay attention to trees, you may enjoy identifying various trees as you find them. Evergreen trees are common in many regions of the world, both temperate and tropical. Cedar trees can be confusing to identify due to the number of false cedars that abound. True cedar trees (Cedrus genera) are ancient, are native to the Mediterranean region and only four varieties exist. False cedars are actually members of the cypress family (Thuja genera) and have vastly different appearances.

Step 1

Notice that cedar trees are evergreen trees and tend to be very tall. Cedar trees grow to be very old and for this reason, they are often extremely large. The branches grow horizontally, making cedar trees appear wide and flat.

Step 2

Look carefully at the bark of cedar trees and you will see that young cedars have smooth bark that is gray in color. As the cedar tree matures, the bark becomes rough and scaly and the color turns darker.

Step 3

Examine the needles of a cedar tree. These needles grow in groups of up to 40 and the needles are quite short (approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches long). Cedar needles are stiff and a dark greenish-blue in color. Cedar trees retain their needles for several years and then the cedar trees shed them to the ground.

Step 4

Look for both female and male flowers on mature cedar trees in midsummer. Flowers are approximately 2 inches wide and they are red.

Step 5

Find the cones of cedar trees. Cedar tree cones are up to 5 inches long and they stand straight out from the branches of the trees. Immature cones are green and they eventually turn to a brown color over a period of two years. Cedar tree cones mature in late summer and early autumn and the cedar tree will drop them to the ground the following spring.


  • The Gymnosperm Database: Cedrus
  • Bonsai Clubs International: Cedrus
  • Blue Planet Biomes: Lebanon Cedar
Keywords: cedar trees, cedrus genera, true cedar trees

About this Author

Kathryn Hatter is a 42-year-old veteran homeschool educator and regular contributor to Natural News. She is an accomplished gardener, seamstress, quilter, painter, cook, decorator, digital graphics creator and she enjoys technical and computer gadgets. She began writing for Internet publications in 2007. She is interested in natural health and hopes to continue her formal education in the health field (nursing) when family commitments will allow.