Group of three Cedars growing along woodland walk.
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...about making ID based on tree shape.
I would agree that old Cedrus libani achieve a distinctive flat-topped look. And that, generally speaking, Pinus look rounded from afar: but that's as far as I'm prepared to go on conifers!
Most of the books suggest that looking at the branch-tips is a good indicator: Deodar droop, Atlas ascend, Libani are level.
But having spent several hours in arboreta recently, I would say "it's not that simple".
A good look at the needles would help: I think it's fair to say that Deodar are the longest, and Atlas are the shortest - and usually "blue". But needle length can be very misleading. I'm currently comparing scale size/shape, as they are often to be found on the ground: if anyone has any helpful comments on that aspect of Cedrus, I'd be happy to hear about it.
How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:
Rachy, you are making the same comments as society members made when determining the ID.
One helpful observation was that at Ness Gardens, Univ. of Liverpool one can view the three species at tree-top height to see individual characteristics - however these are specimen species protected from climate etc. Kind regards
....is that good, or bad?
I'm laughing out loud, btw, at the idea that viewing trees at tree-top height can be considered helpful. Excuse me while I strap on my jet-pack.
Seriously, it's not that often that you find a specimen of anything that has been allowed to grow unhindered into its natural form.
And it's often difficult to get a clear view of the overall shape and structure.
So on balance, we are left with needle length, colour, margin, cones etc.
Talking of which, I misunderstood your ID comment: you were talking about the flat tops of the cones, not the flat top of the tree, sorry.
An interesting observation, but it's not that common to find complete cones of cedars, as they shatter on the tree.
I'm getting more hopeful about cone scale shape/sizes, will let you know if anything definitive arises.
Thank you for your comments - the guidelines I follow are:- Shape (especially branch tips), Leaves: How long? Are they translucently spined? Cones: What is the shape at the tip? If we combine methods we may get closer to a positive ID. Eventually
I see no mention of that in Mitchell, can you elucidate?
Owen Johnson, 'Collins Tree Guide',2004 describes the leaf tips of C. libani, C. atlantica and C. deodara as translucent. Another characteristic to consider.
That's a shame, if all three of them have the same characteristic, then that doesn't help much in determining between them!
My Collins complete tree guide is the 2007 Sterry edition, and does not mention the leaf tip: another good reason for having several reference books.
Lat/Lng: 53.3689, -2.9342
OS grid ref: SJ379861
Woodland and Park adjacent to Mersey Waterfront Regional Park revamped as part of 'Pride in our Promenades' programme.