Melia azedarach White Cedar in Northern Australia

White Cedar

Common name White Cedar
Botanical Name Melia azedarach
Family Meliaceae
Natural range East coast Australia
Mature height to 12m
Form Rounded crown
Likes A range of soils and all conditions
Dislikes n/a
Where to plant Anywhere you need a tough deciduous tree
Known for Aussie deciduous native

Did You Know That Australia Has a Native Deciduous Tree?

Let’s shine the spotlight on an extraordinary native of Australia, the White Cedar. This beautiful shade tree is not only attractive to look at but also boasts an extraordinary tolerance for drought. Quite an amazing feat for a tree native to the top of Victoria, Cape York, and the Northern Territory where dry conditions are more the rule than the exception.

Why is the White Cedar Loved as a Shade Tree?

White Cedar often finds its place in gardens and parks as a beloved shade tree, courtesy of its dense canopy. Its fragrant lilac flowers and yellow fruits contribute to its charm as an ornamental tree. With ample space, these trees can unfurl a wide, open canopy with limbs that spread out gracefully.

Can White Cedar Adapt to the Australian Climate?

Its deciduous nature makes White Cedar a brilliant choice for the southern states of Australia. A tree that offers shade in summer and allows the winter sun to peek through is a treasure in any home garden.

What Happens When White Cedar Blooms?

As the glossy new leaves spring to life, the tree begins its flowering period, often continuing well into the summer. The clusters of lilac and white flowers that bloom are not just visually appealing but also emit a light fragrance that’s often likened to chocolate.

Are the Fruits of White Cedar Poisonous?

One point to note is that the fruits of the White Cedar are toxic to humans and some other mammals. Even as few as 6-8 fruits can be fatal if ingested. However, birds have no problem dining on these fruits, helping to disperse the seeds through their droppings.

What Conditions Does White Cedar Thrive In?

White Cedar shows an impressive range of tolerance. Alongside its noted drought resistance, it can also endure temporary flooding. Moreover, it can grow in diverse soil types, from sandy to heavy clay.

How to Care for a White Cedar Tree?

Pruning is key to maintaining the form and structure of the White Cedar. Regular pruning helps open up the crown and promotes the development of well-spaced limbs. However, do beware of pests like the Cape Lilac Tree Caterpillar, which can defoliate and damage the tree.

Fun Facts About White Cedar:
  1. White Cedar is one of the few deciduous trees native to Australia.
  2. It is highly resistant to drought conditions.
  3. White Cedar blooms from Spring to Summer, producing fragrant lilac and white flowers.
  4. Its fruits are poisonous to humans and some other mammals but not to birds.
  5. White Cedar thrives in various conditions and soil types.
Links for Further Reading:
  1. All About White Cedar’s Tolerance and Adaptability
  2. Pruning Tips for a Healthy White Cedar
  3. The Role of Birds in White Cedar Seed Dispersal
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