Atlas Cedar

Un cedro dell’Atlante nel contesto vegetale del parco di Villa Crivelli Pusterla a Limbiate (Fototeca ISAL, Fotografia di Anna Zaffaroni)
An Atlas Cedar in the plant system of the Villa Crivelli Pusterla park in Limbiate (ISAL Photo Archive, photograph by Anna Zaffaroni)

There are many particular features and botanical details still visible today in the garden of Villa Crivelli Pusterla in Limbiate, despite the difficulty in tracing its original layout which has been greatly compromised by the transformation of the greens belonging to the provincial asylum and the consequent building of the related pavilions.


The main entrance to the complex leads the visitor to what remains of a formal garden of the original noble villa, which highlights, next to a recently restored fountain, a majestic Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica) with its characteristic spine-shaped blue-green leaves. They are arranged in tuffs around the shoots of the previous year, and single leaves around those of the current year, creating an outstanding chromatic contrast with the other surrounding evergreens. In Italy, these are probably the most diffused trees in the parks and gardens of the delightful country villas. They are thus also present, only in residential complexes belonging to the system of noble villas, for example, in the romantic garden of Villa Visconti Borromeo Litta in Lainate besides Limbiate. In Villa Visconti Borromeo Litta some splendid examples show their utmost beauty close to the area of the fountain of Galatea, and in the park adjacent to the Palazzo Arese Borromeo in Cesano Maderno, along the crossways of the paths running through the parterre, where these essences were planted to alternate with the composition of yew trees.
Very widespread in the historical gardens of the noble villas of Brianza, their presence is often determined by the particular conditions of florescence that differ greatly from that of other conifers. The Atlas Cedar, in fact, blooms in autumn, showing male flowers similar to small pink cones that fall to the ground in great numbers, and green female flowers that stay at the tips of the younger branches. The fruit is like a cone-shaped beehive with a concave tip, and matures in two years after which it disintegrates.
The branches of this tree can be distinguished from those of the other cedars because they grow upwards. The needle-shaped leaves resemble those of the Lebanese Cedar; in fact, they grow in a solitary way on the shoots of the current year and in tuffs over those of the previous year.