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Cedrela odorata - Cedar wood / Spanish Cedar


Native to:



Pacific coast of Mexico, throughout Central America and the Caribbean.

Wet primary and secondary tropical forests. 10-2700 meters above sea level. 30-40 meter tall tree.

Cedrela odorata - Cedar wood / Spanish Cedar

Ecological value:

Acts as wind breaker, but has shallow roots. Visited by insects including honey bees tolerates seasonal droughts but not flooding. Pioneer. Can be used in restoration schemes. Tolerant of wide range of soils, but prefers fertile. Full sun.

Material uses:

Wood, light and soft, moderately resistant to wood-boring insects but sapwood susceptible to beetles. Used for guitars, storage furniture, construction, plywood and veneers. Contains an aromatic and insect-repelling resin. Used as firewood. Bark used for cordage.

Edible uses:

Some native groups chew on young leaves.

Medicinal use:

Root and trunk bark is used to reduce fever, pains, headaches; the trunk used for a decoction for abortion. Infusion of seeds treat earaches.

Other details:

Over-exploited in wild. Sometimes planted as an ornamental. Susceptible to Hypsipyla attack and should be planted in mixed plantations/forests (with Leucaena leucocephala, Cordia spp). The fruits of Cereal spp. look like dry, woody flowers, and all species have pinnate leaves.


Xiliang Chen/Christine Facella


“Cedrela Odorata L. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 6, 2023.
“Cedrela Odorata - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 6, 2023.
‌Lorenzi. H., ‘Brazilian Trees. Volume 2. 4th Edition’, Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil, 2002
Image source: Forest & Kim Starr.

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