Calocedrus decurrens - (Torr.)Florin.
Common Name Incense Cedar, California Incense Cedar
Family Cupressaceae
USDA hardiness 5-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Found on a variety of soils, usually on western slopes at an altitude of 700 - 2500 metres[229]. The best specimens are found on deep well-drained slightly acidic sandy loam soils[229].
Range South-western N. America - Oregon to California.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

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Bloom Color: Unknown. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Columnar, Pyramidal.

Calocedrus decurrens Incense Cedar, California Incense Cedar[email protected]
Calocedrus decurrens Incense Cedar, California Incense Cedar
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of cone
Calocedrus decurrens is an evergreen Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 2 m (6ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Heyderia decurrens. Libocedrus decurrens. Thuja gigantea. non Nutt.

Woodland Garden Canopy; Secondary;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment.

The dense leaflets have been used as a flavouring and protection when leaching acorns[257].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Miscellany;  Stomachic.

A decoction of the leaves has been used to treat stomach troubles[257]. Steam from an infusion of the leaves has been inhaled in the treatment of colds[257].


Other Uses
Basketry;  Broom;  Containers;  Miscellany;  Wood.

The boughs and twigs have been used to make brooms[257]. The roots have been used as overlay twine warps and overlay twine weft bases in making baskets[257]. The bark has been made into baskets[257]. Wood - soft, light, close grained, very durable in the soil though it is often damaged by dry rot[82]. It has a powerful, incense-like fragrance[245] and is used for making shingles, lathes, fencing, pencils, construction etc[46, 61, 81, 171]. Mature trees are often infected by dry rot, so they are not considered to be a major timber species[229].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Pest tolerant, Screen, Specimen. Succeeds in full sun in a moist well-drained soil that is neutral to acid, though it will also survive on dry alkaline soils[200]. Plants are shade tolerant when young[200]. It grows best in a position that is sheltered from strong winds[245]. Trees are slow growing but long-lived in the wild, with specimens up to 1000 years old recorded[229]. They grow slowly in Britain, but they are perfectly hardy[11]. Young trees can grow 60cm in a year but they seldom average more than 30cm[185]. Growth virtually stops once the tree reaches 25 metres tall[185]. All parts of the plant are strongly aromatic[188, 245]. This species is strongly resistant to honey fungus[81, 188]. The tree exhibits very different crown habits dependant upon the area in which it is being grown[185, 200]. At one time these different habits were considered to be different sub-species, but it is recognised now that it is only climatic forces that cause the differences. Special Features: North American native, Fragrant foliage, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse[245]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts and consider giving them some protection from the cold for their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of the current season's growth, taken in mid autumn, in a light sandy soil in a cold frame[245].
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants


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Readers comment
   Thu May 18 2006
Please give the distribution, especially info. on Israel for Calocedrus. [email protected] you can help if so Thanks!
   Jan 29 2012 12:00AM
This is one of my favorite analgesic/anti-inflammatory plants. I am not sure why I have found no references to it being so, but I discovered this while experimenting with mosquito-repelling plants. From my experience, it is more strongly anti-inflammatory than analgesic. However, the effects are rather unmistakable, in my opinion.
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Subject : Calocedrus decurrens  

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