Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Flowers: White Cedar Cones

This is my 81st Friday Flowers post and I could likely continue for a lifetime featuring beautiful blooms and interesting plants, especially if I frequented botanical gardens and had time for a lot of travel. Winter has come early in our area and the ground is covered in several inches of snow. The birds are animals are already having to work harder to find food and my feeders are very active. Our evergreen trees have provided the only spots of outdoor colour this week as the sky has met the earth in a uniform grey and white curtain. Conifers provide shelter and food during the winter for many creatures. I decided to feature cones from the variety of evergreens we have around here as they are the flower and fruit, so to speak, of the conifers. I am not a botanist by any stretch, so welcome comments and corrections to my text.

The White Cedar is a native tree to the northeastern regions of North America. It is small and shrubby and grows only 10-20 metres in height at the most. The scaly leaves are arranged in fan-shaped branches. My grandmother liked to pick a little piece of cedar to rub in her hands, a habit I have also acquired. The scent from the oil is fresh and strong and is right at the top with lavender as my favourite leaf smell. The first big gift my husband gave me before we were married was a cedar chest. It still stores our out of season clothes and the aroma from the wood remains strong after many years.

Cedars in the limestone rock of the Elora Gorge

The foliage is rich is vitamin C and is said to to have cured scurvy experienced by European explorers. It is a favoured food for deer in the winter and they can strip a tree very quickly. The Cedar Waxwing is named because of its habit of eating ripe cedar cones and other birds also enjoy the seeds. It grows in a variety of soils including swamps and rock. Some stunted white cedars growing in the limestone rock of the Niagara Escarpment are said to be nearly a thousand years old. Cedars grow out of the limestone cliffs of the Elora Gorge and we saw them in cracks of the alvar pavement on Manitoulin Island this summer.

I took this picture on November 8th this year near the river, just before the snow came. The woods were bare and this misshapen cedar touched the ground at the river's edge providing shelter for a variety of birds. The hawthorn berries on the right will soon be eaten but the cedar tree will remain green and fresh throughout the long winter, and its abundant leaves and cones an important source of food.


  1. Lovely photographs and interesting facts about cedar. Nice post.

  2. Very informative post. I didn't know that about the Vitamin C and had no idea how Cedar Waxwings got their names.

    I can't get over the number of pinecones on that pine tree!

  3. This is a great post. I love cedars too. For a long time I wondered why the cedars planted in country cemeteries were pruned up so high. Then I found out it was the deer doing the pruning! Do you know, is it red cedar or wjite cedar that carries apple rust?

  4. Ruth great closeups of cones seldom noticed and wonderful information!
    Thank you! A sky watching nature lover!

  5. I love the information about the cedar.....and the story of your grandmother rubbing the oils into her lovely that you do the same.....
    My favourite oil is lavender also......I find it interesting that you like the cedar as much....

    A lovely post........

  6. Anonymous6:11 pm GMT-5

    I love the first picture. Some very interesting facts about cedars. I like cedars during the winter when the heavy snow hangs off it's branches. I wish that I had a few in my backyard to provide a warm shelter for the birds during the cold months.
    And again, I love the Friday's Flower post and I'm looking forward to your 82nd.

  7. Anonymous8:58 pm GMT-5

    I love learning something new and the photos with the commentary are really nice. I know how much for birds love the blue spruce near the bird feeders..

  8. Isn't the tree in the foreground of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" a cedar? Or is it a cypress? Or are the two related? I'll have to check up on that.

  9. NCMW- I am photographing anything with colour these days.

    Kim- I think I will continue to eat oranges and take my chewable vitamin c tablets. People say that a lot of pinecones indicate a hard winter is on the way. I hope not!

    Lynne- I had never heard of cedar-apple rust. In looking it up just now I found a government bulletin that attributes the rust to "Juniperus virginiana -eastern red cedar" Interesting...

    Naturegirl- Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

    Cheryl- I wonder if you have similar cedar species in Britain? We spread cedar mulch in the garden each spring and that smells very nice too.

    Cheryl D- Thanks for your kind comments. The birds also love our Juniper shrubs and they grow even faster than cedar.

    RW- I was going to do Blue Spruce next. It is our best bird tree!

    Bob- I just looked at the painting in Google images. Who knows what that tree is! Only the artist I am sure. It is an interesting piece of art though.

  10. I'm glad you are still on Friday Flowers, Ruth. With several inches of snow already, I applaud you!

    What a refreshing post...the fragrance of cedar and lavender. Ahhh.

    I hope you are feeling good!


  11. Ruth,

    I enjoyed your photographs. I've noticed that all of the evergreens have cones and seeds from top to bottom this year. They are so pretty when so abundantly adorned.

    Re your comments on my post tonight. I am not a lover of the party that leads our country now, but do not favor one lead by the Liberals either. October's election was the very first that I had trouble deciding who to vote for. Not much choice out there. Thanks for your comment. I enjoyed hearing your opinion on the matter.

    We have no snow on the ground here. It did snow off and on today and the wind was nasty, but no accumulation up until this point. Who knows what we will wake up to tomorrow.

    Enjoyed my visit and your comments, as always.


  12. I've never thought about the "flowers" of the cedars and such. Beautiful post Ruth. :c)

  13. Very interesting post. I like that last shot with the flaming yellow trees in the bare branches woods.

  14. The white cedar is beautiful.


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