Friday, January 23, 2009

Cedrus atlantica 'Aurea' - Golden Atlas Cedar

One thing that you may come to find from taking plant identification classes, is that cultivars that have different habits, heights, and colors are usually more valued horticulturally. The specimen of Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca' the class saw in front of the Ellington Plant Sciences building is valued compared to other coniferous options because of its blue color and the horizontal habit it gains with age. Dirr, the writer of the text Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, points out that C. 'Glauca' could even be taken as the true variety of Atlas Cedar, and that the blue color occurs naturally (like with Colorado Blue Spruces). The needles are held in spherical bundles, generally of 15 needles per bundle. Dirr says of this Atlas Cedar that it is an, "extremely picturesque and interesting tree, its beauty perhaps unmatched by any other confier."

Cedrus atlantica 'Aurea' is a cool Atlas Cedar because in addition to its foliages' striking blue color, there is a shock of yellow at the tips of the branches. When planting golden varieties of confiers, its usually a good idea to plant them where they can get full morning sun and partial sun in the afternoon. This should prevent foliage damage by the sun. The golden variegation should be more noticible in the Spring when it has more new growth. In the UT Gardens, yellow spring-flowering plants such as daffodils are nearby to accentuate the Gold Atlas Cedars golden foliage.

Source: Dirr, Michael A. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants. 196-197.