Incence Cedar Calocedrus decurrens

Mature trees can grow from 120 to 180 feet tall in the Sierra Nevada. In the Santa Lucia Mountains trees are smaller, topping out at 80 to 120 feet tall. Incense Cedar grows closer to the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur than anywhere else in California and is generally found above 2000 feet. Both the foliage and wood are aromatic. Brances of dried foliage are used as smudge by native peoples. Many people know Incense Cedar in the soft fine-grained wood of pencils made in the USA.

Incense Cedar leaves and seed cones
Foliage has flat scaled bright green leaves that are aromatic when crushed. Seed cones are 3/4 to 1 inch long open in late summer.

Incese Cedar Forest looking up
From beneath look for the distinct bark, scaled leaves, and unique seed cones.

Incense Cedar Bark
The bark is redish-brown, fiborous, and deeply furrowed in mature trees.

Incense cedar grove in mixed forest
This photo show a stand of Incense Cedars in the Santa Lucias at 3,100 feet elevation after the Basin Complex fire. The stand is surrounded primarily by Canyon Live Oak (foreground and burned from the fire) Alder, and Coulter Pine (right).

Incense Cedars
A stand of medium-sized fire damaged Incense Cedars.

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