Friday 17 May
African pencil cedar (Juniperus procera)
African pencil cedar fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
African pencil cedar description
The African pencil cedar (Juniperus procera), the tallest of all juniper species in the world (2), acquired its name from its extensive use in the manufacturing of pencils (2). The trunk is straight and sharply tapered, covered with bark varying in colour from pale brown to reddish brown (3). Young African pencil cedars have needle-like leaves, one to two centimetres long, and as the plant ages the foliage gradually changes to the scale-like adult leaves, which are light-green or yellowish-green and only up to six millimetres long (3) (4). Male African pencil cedars bear numerous, tiny male cones at the ends of branches. These greenish to orangey-brown structures are composed of scales, each containing two to three pollen sacs. Female plants bear the female cones; reddish-brown to blue-black, berry-like structures made of fleshy scales, each one containing a single ovule (3).
- Also known as
- East African cedarwood. Top
- Male and female reproductive organs are borne on separate plants.
- A structure within the female reproductive organ of a plant that contains an egg cell and when fertilized by pollen, develops into a seed.
IUCN Red List (April, 2011)
- Pohjonen, V. and Pukkala, T. (1992) Juniperus procera Hocht. ex. Endl. In Ethiopian forestry. Forest Ecology and Management, 49: 75 - 85.
World Agroforestry Centre: Agroforestree Database (December, 2007)
The Gymnosperm Database (December, 2007)
- Oldfield, S., Lusty, C. and MacKinven, A. (1998) The World List of Threatened Trees. World Conservation Press, Cambridge, UK.
- Farjon, A. (2005) A monograph of Cupressaceae and Sciadopitys. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
- Mamo, N., Mihretu, M., Fekadu, M., Tigabu, M. and Teketay, D. (2006) Variation in seed and germination characteristics among Juniperus procera populations in Ethiopia. Forest Ecology and Management, 225: 320 - 327.
- Borghesio, L., Giannetti, F., Ndang’ang’a, K. and Shimelis, A. (2004) The present conservation status of Juniperus forests in the South Ethiopian Endemic Bird Area. African Journal of Ecology, 42(2): 137 - 143.
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
African pencil cedar biology
The evergreen African pencil cedar is dioecious (7), meaning that the male and female reproductive structures are borne on separate plants. Pollen, from the tiny cones on the male plants, is carried by the wind to the waxy, berry-like cones of the female plants (7). Fertilised by pollen, the ovules within the female cones develop into brown seeds. The African pencil cedar is believed to produce seeds only every several years (3).Top
African pencil cedar range
The African pencil cedar has a wide distribution, ranging from the Arabian Penisula, through East Africa, to Zimbabwe. However, whilst widespread, many populations of the African pencil cedar are extremely small and threatened (5).Top
African pencil cedar habitat
The African pencil cedar is found in mountainous areas and highlands (6), on rocky ground (5). In Africa, it occurs at altitudes between 1,050 and 3,600 metres, but is most common between 1,800 and 2,700 metres (6),Top
African pencil cedar status
The African pencil cedar is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
African pencil cedar threats
While the export of the African pencil cedar for the manufacture of pencils has now ceased (2), its termite- and fungi-resistant timber continues to be popular for a great many purposes; local home construction and other carpentry, fuelwood, and for export (2) (5). This exploitation, in addition to expanding agriculture, browsing by animals such as buffalo and elephants, and the increase in plantations of fast-growing exotic species, is causing populations of African pencil cedar to decline (5). In Ethiopia, for example, indigenous forests have been decimated over the past 100 years with forests cleared for crops and grazing, and trees harvested for fuelwood (2). Habitat destruction has been so great that in southern Ethiopia it is unlikely that forests of Juniperus species will persist for long (8).Top
African pencil cedar conservation
Efforts have been made to ensure the continued survival of this valuable tree; in the late 1970s the African pencil cedar became part of a plantation establishment program of the State Forest Department of Ethiopia, and in the late 1980s, trees were planted at a rate of a few hundred hectares per year (2). The aim of these plantations is to produce the necessary fuelwood and timber for the Ethiopian population, in order to decrease the pressure on remaining natural forests (2). However, to re-establish forests of African pencil cedar in East Africa, it is believed that natural regeneration should be promoted, including protecting young trees from grazing animals (2).Top
Authenticated (10/11/08) by Richard Spjut, World Botanical Associates, Bakersfield CA, USA.
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.