The Atlas Cedar grows in acidic, alkaline, drought tolerant, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, silty loam, well drained soils.
The wood of the Atlas is oily, scented and durable. This wood is widely used for construction, furniture (especially cedar chests) and railroad ties. The oil in the wood wards off attacks from insects.
A distinctive evergreen with silvery blue to bluish-green needles. Pyramidal in its youth, it becomes massive with horizontal, spreading branches and is quite a sight. The Atlas Cedar lives long and requires a lot of space to develop freely. 2"-3' male cones form on lower part of tree, with larger purple female cones developing on top branches. Tolerates many soil conditions, but prefers moist and well-drained soils. Grows 40'-60' high with a 30'-40' spread.
The Middle Atlas Cedar forest of Morocco is the last suitable habitat for the Barbary macaque. Unfortunately, however, the forest suffered due to a dramatic increase in the macaque's stripping the bark off the trees, possibly due to the increase in the macaque population. It has been theorized that the macaques' are stripping the bark in an effort to get water, as the behavior is seen primarily where there wasn't a ready supply of water. The trunk attracts sapsuckers but the small holes they drill do little lasting harm.
Rather than try and move the population of macaques and risk the extinction of the species, the University of Padova in Italy suggests that the Moroccan government increase the supply of water.
The Atlas Cedar was introduced into this country in 1845 and is a prized specimen tree, however it has not been very successful as a forestry product. This tree, along with the Deodar Cedar and Cedar of Lebanon are true cedars. Trees such as the Redcedar, which is really a member of the Juniper family, and the Western Redcedar, which is really an Arborvitae, are commonly thought of as Cedars because of their appearance and aromatic wood.
The Atlas Cedar prefers moist soil and can also tolerate moderate drought.
The needles are blue-green and measure 3/4 to 1-1/2" in length.
The blooms of the Atlas Cedar are indistinguishable.
The Atlas Cedar blooms in the spring..
The Atlas Cedar produces 2 1/4"-4" long cones that turn brown at maturity.