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Woody > Calocedrus > Calocedrus decurrens > Calocedrus decurrens

Calocedrus decurrens

California Incense-cedar

Origin:  The plant originates from the mountain ranges in California where it is a co-dominant species. In the wild it can grow up to 50 m but in cultivation it is much smaller.
            Mike's Opinion

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Once known as Libocedrus decurrens. This is a very full, true dark-green coloured tree, gaining a nice dark red bark as it ages. It has interesting cones, small in size but when they break open to release the seed resembling a ducks bill. A classic beauty!

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Tree (evergreen)
Libocedrus decurrens
USDA Hardiness Zone
5 - 8
Canadian Hardiness Zone
4a - 7a
RHS Hardiness Zone
Temperature (°C)
-29 - (-7)
Temperature (°F)
to -20
10 - 15 m
2 - 3 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
An aromatic conifer with flat scale type foliage, with a narrow columnar form. Small 2.5 cm cones are easily recognizable because the open cone resembles a ducks bill when the seed is released.
Using one plant adds a formal effect to the landscape but in numbers it also gives a great strong appearance with its unwavering green foliage. Also makes a good hedge with its thick foliage to block unwanted views and sounds.
Grow in full sun to partial shade, thrives in most soil types as long as good drainage is present. Pruning is not necessary as the tree naturally has a well kempt form.
Narrow, somewhat columnar.
ID Characteristic
Very flat scale type leaves which overlap and are arranged by fours in a whorl at the branchlet. Leaves can be crushed and give off a spicy aroma. Bark is dark red in colour.
On occasion it can get heart rot or rust, but is generally pest and disease free.
Mountainous regions of western United States such as, California, Oregon, and Washington.
Bark/Stem Description
The bark has a scale like appearance and is a dark red, almost cinnamon in colour. Native to the mountain ranges in California, the bark is reported to be 7.5-20 cm thick, a natural adaption to protect itself from forest fires.
Leaf Description
A flat scale originating from the branchlet in a whorl of 4 leaves, leaves can frow up to 1.2 cm long. The plant gets the name incense cedar because when crushed the leaves give off a spicy aroma similar to incense.
Flower Description
Very small flower, brownish yellow in colour with a scaled appearance.
Fruit Description
Grows to about 2.5 cm long, brownish red in colour resembling a ducks bill when open.
Colour Description
True green foliage year round with brown cones and dark red bark.
Texture Description
From afar it is a very full looking plant making it look coarse but up close the leaves are very fine but in abundance.
Notable Specimens
Arboretum of the Barnes Foundation, Merrion, Pennsylvania, United States of America. Ravenna Park, Seattle, Washington, United States of America. Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, England.
Can be grown from seed; a stratification period of 8 weeks at 0 - 5 °C is recommended. You can also take semi-ripe cuttings in late summer and root under bottom heat with mist.