Cedarwood Atlas Monograph
Latin Name: Cedrus atlantica
Other Common Names
- Himalayan cedarwood, Moroccan cedarwood, Atlantic cedar, Atlas cedar
- A Cedarwood Atlas tree sits on the South Lawn of The White House in Washington, D.C. It was planted when President Jimmy Carter demanded a tree house for his daughter, Amy.
- C. atlantica is listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species (2018), with a decreasing population trend. Link: IUCN Red List: Atlas Cedarwood.
- Its population has declined up to 75% from 1940 – 1982 and continuing to decrease. Pest outbreaks and a more arid climate have worsened the situation along with overgrazing and fires (Thomas, 2013).
- Human activity (deforestation, fires, and overgrazing) strongly limit the species from regenerating and has been the main drive of extinction from certain areas (Abel-Shaad, 2018).
- The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) classified the conifer forests of North Africa, Morocco, North Tunisia, and North West Algeria as “Critically Endangered.” Link: WWF: Northern Africa Conifer Forest.
- C. brevifolia, C. deodara, and C. Libani are additional Cedrus species on the IUCN Red List (2015.2). Other species in danger include Juniperus procera, Juniperus cedrus, Juniperus communis, Juniperus thurifera, and Widdringtonia whytei (Sadowski, 2015).
- The Cedrus species are the true cedars, not to be confused with those coming from the family Cupressaceae, such as: Juniperus virginiana, (Texas cedarwood), Juniperus ashei, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (Port Orford cedar), and California incense cedar Calocedrus decurrens.
- Also do not confuse with cedar leaf oil of Thuja occidentalis.
- Other cedarwoods in the Cedrus family include: C. deodara, C. libani, and C. brevifolia.
- Since Cedarwood Atlas is an endangered species, consider using Cedarwood Virginia as an alternative oil.
- This Mediterranean and Himalayan evergreen has blueish green needles and small cones, growing up to 120 feet tall.
- Oil is steam distilled from the wood, creating a sticky, viscous yellowish brown oil that stains the blotter. The aroma is creamy, woody, and long lasting, with a balsamic undertone.
Safety and Quality
- Threatened species: Avoid use.
- Not for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding (Petersen, 2015).
- Atlantone is a potentially toxic constituent, skin patch required (Petersen, 2015).
- Abel-Schaad, D., Iriarte, E., López-Sáez, J. A., Pérez-Díaz, S., Sabariego Ruiz, S., Cheddadi, R., & Alba-Sánchez, F. (2018). Are Cedrus Atlantica forests in the Rif Mountains of Morocco heading towards local extinction?. The Holocene, 0959683617752842.
- Aberchane, M., Fechtal, M., & Chaouch, A. (2004). Analysis of Moroccan Atlas Cedarwood Oil (Cedrus atlantica Manetti). Journal of Essential Oil Research, 16(6), 542-547.IUCN Red List. (2018). Cedrus atlantica. Retrieved in December, 2018. Retrieved from: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/42303/2970716
- Berrahmouni, N. and Regato, P. (n.d.). World Wildlife Fund: Temperate Coniferous Forest of Northern Africa: Algeria and Morocco and Tunisia. Retrieved in December, 2018. Retrieved from: https://www.worldwildlife.org/ecoregions/pa0513
- Petersen, D. (2015). Aromatherapy materia medica. Essential oil monographs. American College of Healthcare Sciences.
- Sadowski, K. (2017). Threatened Essential Oil Species. NAHA Aromatherapy Journal, Autumn, 2017. Threatened EO Species (1) (1)
- Thomas, P. (2013). Cedrus atlantica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved from www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved in June, 2018.
By: Kathy Sadowski