A great deal of clarification is required around the correct naming of hybrid Cedars of this parentage, as it is a cross that occurs sporadically where the species are grown together in warm climates, for example in South Africa (Knap 2003), as well as having been caused deliberately in horticulture both in France and Italy, and probably elsewhere, too.
Hybrids are sold under various names, but it is unclear whether these are consistently reproduced vegetatively and thus represent a distinctive clone or clones, or whether they are seed-raised and therefore better considered a hybrid swarm. Some hybrid selections are routinely attributed to C. deodara in the trade, for example C. deodara ‘Ibrido’, but until such time as the nomenclature is rationalised we will treat these names under this hybrid for accuracy’s sake.
Cedrus deodara 'Ibrido'
Cedrus deodara 'Ibridio'
Cedrus deodara 'Ibridio Tesi'
Cedrus × 'Ibridio Tesi'
A quick glance at the reference books for information on C. deodara ‘Ibrido’ (as it is often sold) offers a deceptively simple overview: A likely hybrid between C. deodara and C. atlantica Glauca Group, making a tree of open, pyramidal habit. The branches somewhat ascendent, the foliage blue-green (Auders & Spicer 2012; Hatch 2018–2020).
Hybrid Cedars have been known for some time, and the name Cedrus × tesi, referring to a cross between Deodar and (any form of) Atlas Cedar, is applied to some plants in living collections, for example one very handsome tree at the Yorkshire Arboretum, UK, obtained in 1984 from the Zu Jeddeloh nursery in Germany (J. Grimshaw, pers. comm. 2020). Unfortunately it does not appear that this name was ever validly published, but a transcript of a talk on Deodars posted on the webpage of the Czech Dendrology Society offers some curious insights (Knap 2003). Knap reports that a Mr Tesi, an Italian nurseryman, made the cross at his family’s nurseries in northern Italy, developing them until they were released into commerce. Knap adds ‘Since this crossing is also spontaneous and is therefore easy, Mr. Tesi managed to get many F1 hybrids…It was named after [the nurseryman Mr. Tesi] Cedrus × ‘Ibridio Tesi’, sometimes also Cedrus deodara ‘Ibridio’ or even Cedrus deodara ‘Ibridio Tesi” (Knap 2003).
In this surfeit of names lurks further confusion. The hybrid names above all include the word ‘ibridio’ and the same spelling is regularly encountered for example in Hatch (2018–2020) and in Auders & Spicer (2012), with Knap (2003) himself explaining that this means ‘hybrid’ in Italian. The problem is it does not. The Italian for hybrid is ‘ibrido’, not ‘ibridio’. The plural in Italian is ‘ibridi’ but there is no letter ‘o’ on the end. This begs the question of what was actually intended with regard to the name – ‘Ibridi Tesi’, the Tesi hybrids, perhaps? – but this is impossible to answer here at the present time.
In the meantime, in the interests of botanical and nomenclatural accuracy, we will treat this cultivar under a ‘placeholder’ name: C. atlantica × deodara ‘Ibrido’ (the cultivar correctly spelled, which will no doubt cause endless confusion among Enlgish speaking audiences), listing ‘Ibridio’ as a synonym, along with all the other permutations given in Knap’s transcript until such time as this is resolved.
One more confusion that must be addressed is the use of ‘Tesi’ as a cultivar directly under the genus, Cedrus ‘Tesi’, a name listed by Hatch (2018–2020) and suggested by him to be of distinct origin, having been raised at the INRA (now INRAE), France, and thus not derived from any hybridisation event in Italy. This may be no more than a shortened version of a name listed here in synonymy, C. × ‘Ibridio Tesi’, but once again clarification is needed. We will also list this cultivar in synonymy here, somewhat hesitantly, until such time as these mysteries can be unravelled.