The incense cedar is displaying attractive young female cones beside the South Walk.
The evergreen coniferous genus Calocedrus is a member of the cupressus family, Cupressaceae, and contains only three species from the western United States, China and Taiwan. C. decurrens is the North American species, occurring in Oregon and California, where it can grow at altitudes up to 3,000m. It is resilient to hot, dry conditions, though the largest specimens, reaching up to 50m in height, occur in wetter areas of canyons and on lake margins. C. decurrens has a slender habit and erect branches, whose branchlets are held in flattened sprays. When crushed the foliage emits an incense-like aroma, hence the common name. The male pollen cones are small, red-brown to light brown in colour, while the pendant, winged female cones are up to 25mm in length, and when immature are a pale green in colour, maturing to red-brown or golden-brown colour. This species was introduced to our gardens in 1853 by the botanist John Jeffrey for the Oregon Association of Edinburgh.