The cedar tree was introduced into France by French naturalist Pierre Belon (1517-1564), travelling on diplomatic missions to countries bordering the eastern Mediterranean. Belon was born in Le Mans and died in Paris, killed by robbers (16th century muggers) while gathering herbs in the Bois de Boulogne.
The Atlas cedar grows to about 40 m, with a conical shape and widely spaced branches. It's native to the Atlas mountains in North Africa, but has been planted in Southern Europe for ornament as well as for timber. The ancient tree in this photo has aged well beyond its youthful conical shape.
broad and conical; branches grow upwards from the trunk and often appear as separated groups
smooth and dark gray; cracked and scaled with age. The base of the trunk is often buttressed.
Leaves. 1-3 mm, growing in round tufts of 40-50 on short spurs; green to bluish-green (especially for young trees).
Male cones are 3-5 cm, conical.
Female cones are 5-8 cm, barrel-shaped with a hollow tip; mature in 2 years to a pale purple-brown color. The scales fall off to release winged seeds, leaving just the central axis on the branch.