Sunday, July 21, 2013

Flora of Eagle Rock: Cedrus deodara, or the Deodar tree

The Deodar, breathing at night, and dreaming of its Himalayan home.

The Deodar tree, or Cedrus deodara, (also called the Deodar Cedar), is, like so many of us, far from home.  The tree, which has a distinctly alpine look to it -- a look that seems slightly out of place next to Mexican fan palms -- is native to the western Himalayas, in eastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, northern India, southwestern Tibet, and western Nepal.  Its native habitat is relatively high: 4,921–10,499 ft.

Deodar, flanked by Mexican fan palms, north of Colorado

The tree is sacred in Hinduism.  "Deodar" comes from from the Sanskrit term devadāru, which means "wood of the gods" (deva (god, divine, deity; cf. deus) + dāru (wood; cf. durum, druid, true)).   Ancient Hindu epics apparently frequently mention Darukavana -- forests of deodars -- as sacred places.

Row of Deodars on Dahlia
When I first saw deodars scattered throughout the neighborhood, I thought it was a bit odd: what were these alpine-looking trees doing in Southern California?  The trees were brought over to Britain from the Himalayas in the 19th century, became ornamental favorites in English gardens, and spread from there.  The adaptability of the tree is remarkable.  It's gone from the snowy foothills of the Himalayas to the 100-degree summers of our neighborhood.  The tree has been spread throughout Europe, and along the west coast and southwest of the U.S.

Detail with incipient cones.

Deodar in the California morning sun.


rahul said...

well, i love a little bit of eastern afghanistan, northern paksitan, india, and western nepal...nice to see "my" trees here...

michaelswoodcraft said...

those are huge!! I like the deodar cedar, planted two of them last year. They are fast growers.

Deodar Cedar