Calocedrus decurrens

incense cedar

Habit: evergreen coniferous tree.  Pyramidal when young, Calocedrus decurrens gathers irregularity in it’s structure with age.  Branches are flattened vertically, apearing fan-like.  Bark is reddish brown and broken into scales in young trees, turning into fibrous ridges.  Small scale-like leaves are in whorls of four, aromatic when crushed.  Flowering in January, with small red-brown cones maturing by the fall.

Ecology: growing in montane forests of the Coast Range and Cascades of Oregon and the Sierra Nevada of California.  Often found in mixed conifer forests in canyons and slopes between 2000-8000 ft (600-2400 m)

Growing Conditions: full sun to partial shade, in moist, well-drained soil. Tolerating many different soil types.

Incense cedar lumber is used for many things including siding on houses, and is considered the best wood for making pencils.


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Type: Evergreen Coniferous Tree
Height: 30-80 ft (9-24 m)
Width: 10-20 ft (3-6 m)
USDA Zones: 5-8
Map courtesy of USDA-NRCS Plants Database.