Incense-Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens)

Incense-Cedar is a domestic softwood


Incense-cedar (Calocedrus decurrens (synonym Libocedrus decurrens)) grows in California, southwestern Oregon, and extreme western Nevada. Most incense-cedar lumber comes from the northern half of California.


Sapwood of incense-cedar is white or cream colored, and heartwood is light brown, often tinged with red. The wood has a fine, uniform texture and a spicy odor. Incense-cedar is light in weight, moderately low in strength, soft, low in shock resistance, and low in stiffness. It has low shrinkage and is easy to dry, with little checking or warping.

Primary Uses

Incense-cedar is used principally for lumber and fence posts. Nearly all the high-grade lumber is used for pencils and venetian blinds; some is used for chests and toys. Much incense-cedar wood is more or less pecky; that is, it contains pockets or areas of disintegrated wood caused by advanced stages of localized decay in the living tree. There is no further development of decay once the lumber is dried. This low-quality lumber is used locally for rough construction where low cost and decay resistance are important. Because of its resistance to decay, incense-cedar is well suited for fence posts. Other uses are railroad crossties, poles, and split shingles.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.