Seasonal Changes in Appearance of Cedar Trees


Every spring, cedar trees in Kansas show drastic changes in their appearance.  This is because cedars are dioecious, the male and female flowers are borne on separate trees.  The flowers are borne on the ends of the needles.  The male flowers are very obvious and cause the tree to turn brown, almost as if they were dieing.  This only lasts for a few months and once pollen is shed, the male blossoms fall off and new foliage growth causes a rapid "greening" of the male trees.  The female blossoms are very small, and not at all showy.  They are easily overlooked and to the naked eye would appear as just a frosted foliage tip.  The following photos show some of these differences. All pictures copyrighted by Chuck Otte, but can be reproduced and used as long as credit is given.

Figure 1.  Male branch on the left (note the brown branch tips) and female
on the right (note the berries from last year).  Photograph taken in late March.

Figure 2.  Male flowers magnified 10x.  Those that
look "open" have started to shed pollen.


Figures 3 and 4.  Female flowers magnified 10x.  The flower is in the center
of each picture.  This is where the new berry will form for the current year.

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