Incense cedar

Calocedrus decurrens


The Incense cedar is a slow growing plant that after many years will grow into a tall coniferous tree mostly within the range of 25-40 ft. in urban environments. Pine-scented foliage is comprised of dark green scale-like leaves that develop on flat branchlets. Flowers are insignificant; seeds develop in pairs and are valued by wildlife when the mature in late fall.

Incense cedar is native to California and other western States from central Oregon to Baja California. It inhabits mountain slopes in both coastal and inland ranges, with its best development occurring in the central Sierra Nevada at elevations between 2,000-8,200 ft., on slightly acid sandy loam soils in meadow habitats.

The Incense cedar is a handsome and tough coniferous tree with rich green foliage and a uniform shape. While not widely known, a number of specimens can be found growing throughout the Inland Empire where it provides a bold conifer character. It grows best on sandy loam soils with moderate water during winter and spring, and periodic deep watering during summer.

Over the years, this species has been used for a variety of landscape purposes, including street and lawn trees, in parks and in residential and commercial landscapes. It is slow growing and well suited to civic and institutional landscapes where it can be appreciated for many years as it matures.

Plant Type: Tree, Native
Foliage Character: Coniferous
Habit: Upright, Narrow
Growth Rate: Slow
Foliage Color: Dark green
Flower Color: Insignificant
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Sand, Loam, Clay, Calcareous soil
Exposure Adaptations: Frost, Fog, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Specimen, Residential spaces, Monumental scale tree, Foliage accent plant, Commercial spaces, Civic spaces, California native, Fragrant foliage
Height: 40 ft. – 80 ft.
Width: 10 ft. – 20 ft.