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CEDAR (Lat. cedrus, Gr. iapos)

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Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 595 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CEDAR (Lat. cedrus, Gr. iapos), a name applied to several members of the natural order Coniferae. The word has been derived from the Arabic Kedr, worth or value, or from Kedrat, strong, and has been supposed by some to have taken its origin from the brook Kedron, in Judaea. Cedrus Libani, the far-famed Cedar of Lebanon, is a tree which, on account of its beauty, stateliness and strength, has always been a favourite with poets and painters, and which, in the • figurative language of prophecy, is frequently employed in the Scriptures as a symbol of power, prosperity and longevity. It grows to a vertical height of ,from 50 to 8o ft.—" exalted above all trees of the field "—and at an elevation of about 6000 ft. above sea-level. In the young. tree, the bole is straight and upright, and one or two leading branches rise above the rest. As the tree increases in size, however, the upper branches. become mingled together, and the tree is then clump-headed.. Numerous lateral ramifying branches spread out from the main trunk in a Vitruvius ;"cedars " were growing in Crete, Africa and Syria. Pliny says that their wood was everlasting, and therefore images of the gods were made of it; he makes mention also of the oil of cedar, or cedrium, distilled from the wood, and used by the ancients for preserving their books from moths and damp; papyri anointed or rubbed with cedrium were on this account called ced ati libri. Drawers of cedar or chips of the wood are now employed to protect furs and woollen stuffs from injury by moths. Cedar-wood, however, is said to be injurious to natural history objects, and to instruments placed in cabinets made of it, as the resinous matter of the wood becomes deposited upon them. Cedria, or cedar resin, is a substance similar to mastic, that flows from incisions in the tree; and cedar manna is a sweet exudation from its branches. The genus Cedrus contains two other species closely allied to C. Liban—Cedrus Deodara, the deodar, or " god tree " of the Himalayas, and Cedrus atlantica, of the Atlas range, North Africa., The deodar forms forests on the mountains of Afghanistan, North Beluchistan and the north-west Himalayas, flourishing in all the higher mountains from Nepal up to Kashmir, at an elevation of from 5500 to 12,000 ft.; on the peaks to the northern side of the.Boorung Pass it grows to a height of 6o to 70 ft. before branching. The wood is close-grained, long-fibred, perfumed and highly resinous, and resists the action of water. The foliage is of a paler green, the leaves are slender and longer, and the twigs are thinner than those of C. Libani. The tree is employed for a variety of useful purposes, especially in building. It is now much cultivated in England as an ornamental plant. C.' atlantica, the Atlas cedar, has shorter and denser leaves than C. Liban; the leaves are glaucous, sometimes of a silvery whiteness, and the cones smaller than in the other two forms; its wood also is hard, and more rapid in growth than is that of the ordinary cedar. It is found at an altitude above the sea of from 4000 to 6000 ft. The name cedar is applied to a variety of trees, including species of several genera of Conifers, Juniperus, Thuja, Libocedrus and Cupressus. Thuja gigantea of western North America is known in the United States as White (or Yellow) cedar, and the same name is applied to Cupressus Lawsoniana, the Port Orford or Oregon cedar, a native of the north-west States, and one of the most valuable juniper trees of North America. The Bermuda cedar (Juniperus bermudiana) and the red or American cedar (J. virginiana) are both much used in joinery and in the manufacture of pencils; though other woods are now superseding them for pencil-making. The Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) is a kind of cypress, the wood of which is very durable. Another species of cypress (Cupressus thyoides, also known as Chamaecyparis thyoides or sphaeroidea), found in swamps in the south of Ohio and Massachusetts, is known as the American white cedar. It has small leaves and fibrous bark, the wood is light, soft and easily-worked, and very durable in contact with the soil, and is much used for boat-building and for making fences and coopers' staves. The Spanish cedar is a name applied to Juniperus thurifera, a native of the western Mediterranean region, and also to another species, J. Oxycedrus, a common plant in the Mediterranean 'region, forming a shrub or low tree with spreading branches and short, stiff, prickly leaves. The latter was much used by the Greeks for making images; and its empyreumatic oil, Huile de Cade, is used medicinally for skin-diseases. A species of cypress, Cupressus lusitanica, which has been naturalized in the neighbourhood of Cintra is known as the cedar of Goa. The genus Widdringtonia of tropical and South Africa is also known locally as cedar. W. juniperoides is the characteristic tree of the Cederberg range in Cape Colony, while W. Whytei, recently discovered in Nyasaland and Rhodesia (the Mlanje cedar) is a fine tree reaching 150 ft. in height, and yielding an ornamental light yellow-brown wood, suitable for building. The order Cedrelaceae (which is entirely distinct from the Conifers) includes, along with the mahoganies and other valuable timber-trees, the Jamaica and the Australian red cedars, Cedrela odorata, and C. Toona respectively. The cedar-wood of Guiana, used for making canoes, is a species of the natural order Bur-seraceae, Icica altissima. It is a large tree, reaching too ft. in height, the wood is easily worked, fragrant and durable. See Gordon's Pinetum; Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, Histoire du cedre du Liban (Paris, 1838) ; Loudon, Arboretum Britannicum, vol. iv. pp. 2404-2432 (London, 1839) ; Marquis de Chambray, Traite pratique des arbres resineux coniferes (Paris, 1845) ; J. D. Hooker, Nat. Hist. Review (January, 1862), pp. 11-18; Brandis, Forest Flora of North-west and Central India, pp. 516-525 (London, 1874) ; Veitch, Manual of Coniferae (2nd ed., London, 1900).
End of Article: CEDAR (Lat. cedrus, Gr. iapos)
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