Chilean cedar (Austrocedrus chilensis) is a medium-sized conifer that grows in the temperate rain forests in Chile and Argentina. It is found in the evergreen mountain forests of the Andes, usually on the drier sites within the rainforest. This is a beautiful tree with its pyramid shape and blue-green colour of its scale-like leaves.
We only have one tree in VanDusen, and it was planted in our Southern Hemisphere Garden in 1999. Chilean cedar is dioecious: the male and female cones are on separate trees. Our tree is a female. It is hoping a male tree might be planted in the future. But with a life span of 1500 years, our female tree still has time.
Although the common name and Latin name of Chilean cedar both have ‘cedar’ in them, it isn’t a true cedar. Austrocedrus chilensis is a member of the ancient Cypress family. The tree history in this family goes way back to a world of one continent called Pangaea.
Text and Photos by Hughie Jones