Clanwilliam Cedar Facts
- The rather impressive Clanwilliam Cedar remains one of the rarest trees on the planet. Scientists know of only five small populations of this distinctive plant still in existence.
- Its lifespan also ranks as extremely long. Some individual specimens have been discovered to be more than 1,000 years old. Imagine all they have witnessed.
- Given its rather extremely limited numbers, the primary threat to this fascinating species understandably remains habitat loss.
- Quite rightfully, the IUCN also currently lists the tree as Critically Endangered.
Clanwilliam Cedar Physical Description
The interesting Clanwilliam Cedar remains a relatively small evergreen tree. Its maximum known height measured roughly 64 ft (2o m).
The leaves also develop small and scaly in nature. The cones grow almost rectangular in shape.
This species grows quite slowly. Individuals take more than 30 years to mature enough to produce seeds.
Additionally, as a rather useful adaptation to its arid environment, it has developed an extremely extensive root system, which reaches deep underground to find sufficient water.
Species: W. wallichii
Clanwilliam Cedar Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The surprising Clanwilliam Cedar also only seems to exist within a highly restricted geographical range. The only known individuals live in the Cederberg Mountains in southwestern South Africa, in Africa.
Yet, evidence indicates that the Clanwilliam Cedar was also once prevalent across much of the region.
Now the tree lives only on rocky ridges or outcroppings which occurs due to the protection the terrain provides against the numerous wildfires which occur in the area.
The area remains primarily dominated by small bush vegetation, which is prone to wildfires.
This species also prefers higher altitudes. The cedar occurs at altitudes of roughly 4,300 ft (1,300 m) above sea level.