Adelaide Botanic Garden: Australian Red Cedar

This tree was planted by George Francis, the first Director of the Adelaide Botanic Garden, and listed in the Garden’s 1859 plant catalogue, produced just five years after the garden was established.

This tree is the largest known cultivated example in the world, according John Vader’s book “The Tree of Australia’s History” and so is considered to be of national significance. It is an outstanding specimen of its kind, and unusually, an early planted example of what was local vegetation, as it is now rare in Adelaide.

Australian Red Cedar Toona ciliate is also known as Toona, Burma Cedar, Indian Cedar, and Indian Mahogany and by other botanical names Toona australis, Cedrela toona, Cedrela australis. Toona refers to this tree’s Indian name, and ciliata is Latin for fringed with hairs. It belongs to the Meliacea family, and is found in Afghanistan, Asia, New South Wales and Queensland. It is a large tropical tree, reaching a height of 20-35 metres, much valued for its timber, used in building, panelling, furniture and ship-building. In Australia it is commercially rare, most of its habitat having been cut-over, and unusually for Australian trees, it is deciduous.