Botanical Name: Cedrus atlantica 'Aurea'
Common Name: Golden Atlas Cedar
Notable Feature: This dramatic, brightly glowing conifer generates a second look in the spring landscape. The newly emerging needles of 'Aurea' are a golden yellow every spring with only a hint of yellow in the second year, however in that year, there will be another round of brilliant golden yellow-tipped foliage!
Habit: A majestic, upright evergreen conifer with ascending to horizontal branching, forming an open pyramidal to broadly conical outline with a strong central leader. This slow-grower will reach 25 to 35 feet high and 15 to 25 feet wide at maturity.
Flower: Monoecious -- male and female flowers appear in separate, cone-like structures on the same tree in spring. Male cones are 2 to 3” long and borne on lower parts of the tree; female cones are thicker and erect, purplish, and borne on top sections of the tree.
Fruit: The fertilized female cones (2 to 4” long and 2” wide) sit upright on the higher branches, are thick and purplish, and ripen to green and finally brown in the fall after two years.
Foliage: Needle-like leaves, ¾” long, are arranged spirally on young shoots, and in whorls on short, spur-like side-shoots. Needle color ranges from a golden yellow on new growth, to a yellowish green the second year, and finally to a bluish green on older growth. The needles are slightly shorter than the species.
Bark: Initially smooth and gray, later darkening and developing fine, flat scales.
Interesting Fact: When planting golden varieties of conifers, it is usually a good idea to plant them where they can get full morning sun and partial sun in the afternoon. This should prevent foliage damage by the sun. Allow plenty of room for branches to spread. ‘Aurea’ is best located as a lawn specimen away from walks, streets, and sidewalks so branches will not have to be pruned, thus appearing out of character if lower branches are removed.