Spanish-cedar

 
 

Spanish-cedar is native to the Antilles, Central America and South America. It reaches a height of 145 feet, with a trunk 6 feet in diameter. The leaves are up to 2 feet long and have up to 44 leaflets that smell of onions when crushed. Flowers are up to three-eighths of an inch long and are grouped in inflorescences up to a foot long that also smell of onions. Fruits are about 1.5 inches long and open in five parts to liberate winged seeds that descend gyrating like helicopter blades. It flowers during spring and the fruits open from winter to the next spring. The wood is used for furniture, string instruments and crafts, in addition to being the favorite wood of local carvers and the only one used for cigar boxes. Its aroma is similar but less intense than that of aromatic cedar, a North American pine. The generic name corresponds to the diminutive of the word cedar. The species name means very fragrant.


The photographed tree is at the northwest end of the Natatorium sports complex. There is another tree south of Building D.

Cedrela odorata (Meliaceae)