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Cedrus deodara

Deodar cedar
Adult Deodar trees in Himachal Pradesh, India.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Cedrus
Species: C. deodara
Binomial name
Cedrus deodara

Cedrus deodara (deodar cedar, Himalayan cedar, or deodar/devdar/devadar/devadaru; Sanskrit देवदारु devadāru, Hindi: देवदार devadār, दारूक dāruk; Urdu: ديودار/ دیار deodār; Chinese: 雪松 xuě sōng) is a species of cedar native to the western Himalayas in eastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan (especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and India (Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Darjeeling and Uttarakhand states), southwesternmost Tibet in (China) and western Nepal, occurring at 1,500–3,200 m (4,921–10,499 ft) altitude. It is a large evergreen coniferous tree reaching 40–50 m (131–164 ft) tall, exceptionally 60 m (197 ft) with a trunk up to 3 m (10 ft) in diameter. It has a conic crown with level branches and drooping branchlets.[2]

The leaves are needle-like, mostly 2.5–5 cm (0.98–1.97 in) long, occasionally up to 7 cm (2.8 in) long, slender (1 mm (0.039 in) thick), borne singly on long shoots, and in dense clusters of 20–30 on short shoots; they vary from bright green to glaucous blue-green in colour. The female cones are barrel-shaped, 7–13 cm (2.8–5.1 in) long and 5–9 cm (2.0–3.5 in) broad, and disintegrate when mature (in 12 months) to release the winged seeds. The male cones are 4–6 cm (1.6–2.4 in) long, and shed their pollen in autumn.[2]


  • Etymology 1
  • Cultural importance in the Indian subcontinent 2
  • Cultivation and uses 3
    • Construction material 3.1
    • Herbal Ayurveda 3.2
  • Chemistry 4
  • Gallery 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The botanical name, which is also the English common name, derives from the Sanskrit term devadāru, which means "wood of the gods", a compound of deva "god" and dāru "wood, tree".

Cultural importance in the Indian subcontinent

Among Hindus, as the etymology of deodar suggests, it is worshiped as a divine tree. Deva, the first half of the Sanskrit term, means divine, deity, or deus. Dāru, the second part, is cognate with (related to) the words durum, druid, tree, and true.[3][4]

Several Hindu legends refer to this tree. For example, Valmiki Ramayan – Kishkinda khanda- stanza 4-43-13 reads:[5]

lodhra padmaka khaNDeSu devadaaru vaneSu ca | raavaNaH saha vaidehyaa maargitavyaa tataH tataH || || 4-43-13
That means “In the stands of Lodhra trees, Padmaka trees and in the woods of Devadaru, or Deodar trees, Ravana is to be searched there and there, together with Sita. [4-43-13]”

Forests full of Deodar or Devadāru trees were the favorite living place of ancient Indian sages and their families who were devoted to the Hindu god Shiva. To please Lord Shiva, the sages used to perform very difficult tapasya (meditation) practices in deodar forests. Also the ancient Hindu epics and Shaivite texts regularly mention Darukavana, meaning a forest of deodars, as a sacred place.

The deodar tree is the national tree of Pakistan.

Cultivation and uses

It is widely grown as an ornamental tree, often planted in parks and large gardens for its drooping foliage. General cultivation is limited to areas with mild winters, with trees frequently killed by temperatures below about −25 °C (−13 °F), limiting it to USDA zone 7 and warmer for reliable growth.[6] It can succeed in rather cool-summer climates, as in Stateline, Nevada and Ushuaia, Argentina.[7]

The most cold-tolerant trees originate in the northwest of the species' range in Kashmir and Paktia Province, Afghanistan. Selected cultivars from this region are hardy to USDA zone 7 or even zone 6, tolerating temperatures down to about −30 °C (−22 °F).[6] Named cultivars from this region include 'Eisregen', 'Eiswinter', 'Karl Fuchs', 'Kashmir', 'Polar Winter', and 'Shalimar'.[8][9] Of these, 'Eisregen', 'Eiswinter', 'Karl Fuchs', and 'Polar Winter' were selected in Germany from seed collected in Paktia; 'Kashmir' was a selection of the nursery trade, whereas 'Shalimar' originated from seeds collected in 1964 from Shalimar Gardens, India (in the Kashmir region) and propagated at the Arnold Arboretum.[8]

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[10]

Construction material

Deodar is in great demand as building material because of its durability, rot-resistant character and fine, close grain, which is capable of taking a high polish. Its historical use to construct religious temples and in landscaping around temples is well recorded. Its rot-resistant character also makes it an ideal wood for constructing the well-known houseboats of Srinagar, Kashmir. In Pakistan and India, during the British colonial period, deodar wood was used extensively for construction of barracks, public buildings, bridges, canals and railway cars.[4] Despite its durability, it is not a strong timber, and its brittle nature makes it unsuitable for delicate work where strength is required, such as chair-making.

Herbal Ayurveda

Cones of Deodar

The use of C. deodara in Ayurvedic medicines is well recorded.[4][11]

The inner wood is aromatic and used to make incense. Inner wood is distilled into essential oil. As insects avoid this tree, the essential oil is used as insect repellent on the feet of horses, cattle and camels. It also has anti-fungal properties and has some potential for control of fungal deterioration of spices during storage. The outer bark and stem are astringent.[12]

Due to its anti fungal and insect repellent properties, rooms made of Deodar (Cedrus deodara) wood are used to store meat and food grains like oats and wheat in Shimla, Kullu and Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. In Himachal people suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems are advised to sit under a Deodar tree early in the morning.

Cedar oil is often used for its aromatic properties, especially in aromatherapy. It has a characteristic woody odour which may change somewhat in the course of drying out. The crude oils are often yellowish or darker in colour. Its applications cover soap perfumes, household sprays, floor polishes and insecticides and is also used in microscope work as a clearing oil.[12]


The bark of Cedrus deodara contains large amounts of taxifolin.[13] The wood contains cedeodarin (6-methyltaxifolin), dihydromyricetin (ampelopsin), cedrin (6-methyldihydromyricetin), cedrinoside[14] and deodarin (3′,4′,5,6-tetrahydroxy-8-methyl dihydroflavonol).[15] The main components of the needle essential oil include α-terpineol (30.2%), linalool (24.47%), limonene (17.01%), anethole (14.57%), caryophyllene (3.14%) and eugenol (2.14%).[16] The deodar cedar also contains lignans[17] and the phenolic sesquiterpene himasecolone together with isopimaric acid.[18] Other compounds have been identified as (−)-matairesinol, (−)-nortrachelogenin and a dibenzylbutyrolactollignan (4,4',9-trihydroxy-3,3'-dimethoxy-9,9'-epoxylignan).[19]


See also


  1. ^ Farjon, A. (2013). "Cedrus deodara".  
  2. ^ a b Aljos, Farjon (1990). Pinaceae: drawings and descriptions of the genera Abies, Cedrus, Pseudolarix, Keteleeria, Nothotsuga, Tsuga, Cathaya, Pseudotsuga, Larix and Picea. Koenigstein: Koeltz Scientific Books.  
  3. ^ Palermo, Gregory (June 29, 2007). "Cedars, gods, and Gilgamesh". Plainfield Trees. 
  4. ^ a b c McGowan, Chris (March 5, 2008). "'"The Deodar Tree: the Himalayan 'Tree of God. 
  5. ^ "ValmikiRamayan". 
  6. ^ a b Ødum, S. (1985). Report on frost damage to trees in Denmark after the severe 1981/82 and 1984/85 winters. Denmark: Hørsholm Arboretum. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b Humphrey James, Welch (1993). Haddows, Gordon, ed. The World Checklist of Conifers. Bromyard: Landsman's Bookshop.  
  9. ^ Gerd, Krüssmann (1983). Handbuch der Nadelgehölze (in German) (2nd ed.). Berlin: Parey.  
  10. ^ "Cedrus deodara"RHS Plant Selector - . Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "Devadaru". Dr. Eddy's Clinic and Ayurveda School. March 13, 2008. Retrieved September 24, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "Cedarwood Oils". Flavours and fragances of plant origin. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 1995.  
  13. ^ Willför, Stefan; Ali, Mumtaz; Karonen, Maarit; Reunanen, Markku; Arfan, Mohammad; Harlamow, Reija (2009). "Extractives in bark of different conifer species growing in Pakistan". Holzforschung 63 (5): 551–8.  
  14. ^ Agrawal, P.K.; Agarwal, S.K.; Rastogi, R.P. (1980). "Dihydroflavonols from Cedrus deodara". Phytochemistry 19 (5): 893–6.  
  15. ^ Adinarayana, D.; Seshadri, T.R. (1965). "Chemical investigation of the stem-bark of Cedrus deodara". Tetrahedron 21 (12): 3727–30.  
  16. ^ Zeng, Wei-Cai; Zhang, Zeng; Gao, Hong; Jia, Li-Rong; He, Qiang (2012). "Chemical Composition, Antioxidant, and Antimicrobial Activities of Essential Oil from Pine Needle (Cedrus deodara)". Journal of Food Science 77 (7): C824–9.  
  17. ^ Agrawal, P.K.; Rastogi, R.P. (1982). "Two lignans from Cedrus deodara". Phytochemistry 21 (6): 1459.  
  18. ^ Agarwal, P.K.; Rastogi, R.P. (1981). "Terpenoids from Cedrus deodara". Phytochemistry 20 (6): 1319–21.  
  19. ^ Tiwari, AK; Srinivas, PV; Kumar, SP; Rao, JM (2001). "Free radical scavenging active components from Cedrus deodara". Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 49 (10): 4642–5.  

External links

  • Cedrus deodara - Himalayan CedarConifers Around the World: .
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