Toona ciliata

Common name: Australian Red Cedar

Other common names: Australian Cedar, Australian Toon, Burma Cedar, Burma Toon, Harms Red Cedar, Indian Mahogany, Moulmein Cedar, Queensland Red Cedar, Red Cedar, Toon

Names in non-English languages: India Spanish Portuguese German China


Australian Red Cedar or Tun is a timber and landscape tree with a wide distribution, its natural range extending over large parts of India into Bangladesh and from Southeast Asia through Papua New Guinea to eastern Australia.

It attains a height of up to 40 m (130 ft) in closely spaced forests, with buttressed roots up to 3 m (10 ft) tall. However, it is more typically 15 to 20 m (50 to 65 ft) tall without buttresses and a straight trunk. The bark is smooth, dark grey to reddish-brown, becoming rough, cracked and flaking with age.

The branches are gently ascending, forming a dense, rounded crown of feathery leaves, each up to 40 cm (16 in) long and consisting of many lance-shaped leaflets arranged in pairs along the length. They remain on the tree in the wettest parts of its range but are otherwise deciduous, falling in the dry season to conserve water. The new leaflets emerge after a brief period in crimson red, gradually changing to bronze, then green as they age. 

The flowers are bisexual, small, whitish and sweetly fragrant. They bloom from spring to early summer in clusters at the ends of the branches and are followed by woody, pear-shaped seed capsules. When mature, the capsules split open into five segments, releasing winged seed that get carried on the wind.

Queens Park, Toowoomba, Australia


Australian red cedar produces light- to medium-weight wood, in the 350 to 600 kilograms per cubic meter (22 to 37 lbs per cubic ft) range, with variable natural resistance to rot, decay and wood-boring insects. This variability can be explained, at least in part, by tree growth rates, with trees in the drier and cooler parts of its range tending to be slower growing than trees in the wetter and warmer parts. At its best, it is a dense, durable wood resistant to fungal and insect attack. The heartwood is fragrant and has a pinkish-red tone that darkens somewhat on exposure to air.

The sawn timber is used for musical instruments, furniture and cabinets, and interior joinery and millwork. Selected logs are sliced for decorative veneer.

The flowers produce reasonable amounts of nectar for honey production, with flows lasting for around two weeks. The honey yields are reportedly moderate. However, there does not appear to be any further information that would help to quantify this. The honey is described as having a light to white amber colour and pronounced flavour.

The five-parted, woody seed capsules have a flower shape, which has led to their use in dried floral arrangements, particularly in Hawaii.


Grows naturally and reaches its best development as a tree in humid subtropical and tropical climates, generally areas with annual lows of 10 to 23°C, annual highs of 22 to 35°C, annual rainfall of 700 to 4500 mm and a dry season of 7 months or less.


New plants are usually started from seed, which remain viable for around six months. Growth performance is best on deep, rich, free-draining loam and sand soils of an acid to neutral nature, generally with a pH of 5.0 to 7.0 and on sites with full to partial sun exposure.

Problem features

The seed are designed for dispersal by wind, which can carry them afar. It is reported as moderately invasive in South Africa and is assessed as a high weed risk species for Hawaii by the Hawaii Pacific Weed Risk Assessment (HPWRA) project.

Where it grows



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