• Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Cedar trees

E-mail Print PDF

This story was inspired by Fridays episode of stateline Canberra, thanks to Chris Kimble, it is nice to see him back.  I just love local content and stories about our wonderful Canberra and region.

The segment I refer to was about Cedar Trees providing truly beautiful timber to many houses and buildings in Canberra. The industry and logging cedar timber is now over, thankfully the almost extinct red cedar is now beginning to re-generate, though naturally occutrring trees are rare.  For now we should really appreciate beautiful red cedar timber in Lanyon Homestead and the National Library reading room being the last public building to have red cedar timber walls and furniture.

 I walked out of my house and gazed across the street to see a white cedar.  This story had me thinking about cedar trees and what are the similarities between red cedar and white cedar.  Common names can be very confusing as to the purpose of the these trees.  It would be easy to assume both provide beautiful timber, but this is not so.

The red cedar and white cedar are related in the same botanic family, you could think of them like second cousins, but they are so different in many ways.

The white cedar grows  like a weed and is classifed as a weed in some states and countries.  Nearly all parts of the tree are poisonous particularly the fruits and It is claimed that jjust 6 fruit can kill a human.   A white cedar will flower late and drop loads of fruit, it can be an attractive looking tree that holds its leaves longer than most, however the abundant fruits are dropped everywhere under the tree.  One needs to be careful not to slip on them.

Generally it is not possible to grow red cedar in Canberra as they did grow in the rainforests of NSW and Queesnsland.  The only red cedar I know growing in Canberra, can be found in the botanic gardens, but it is not as tall and majestic as rainforest specimens.

Interestingly western red cedar and the deodar cedar are conifers, the latter is also an extremely beautiful large tree and can be found in Canberra on Commonwealth Avenue near the Hyatt.  These trees are not related to the red or white cedar.  But do provide a source of durable and beautiful timber.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this article as much as I have in writing.  Please appreciate your local plants.


Our charter - to value and respect our clients, to provide the best possible design and supply of garden related services and materials!