Lightning and cedar trees

Lightning and cedar trees
This stand of cedar trees at Cedar Bluffs Reservoir on the Smoky Hill River would certainly
be a safe haven during a thunderstorm if it’s true that lightning never strikes a cedar tree. (Photo by Rod Beemer)

Stories, myths, and legends are often based on a real-life incidents, and therefore I found this following story very interesting. However, it should be noted that the “cedar” tree is really of the Juniper family as there are no true cedars in the United States.

Here’s the story:

“I want you to look at one of the trees that Tiráwa [Great Spirit] made in this earth, and place your dependence on it. Tiráwa made this tree (pointing to a cedar). It never gets old. It is always green and young. Take notice of this tree, and always have it with you; and when you are in the lodge and it thunders and lightens, throw some of it on the fire and let the smoke rise. Hold that fast.”1

Author Grinnell included this footnote: “A cedar is never struck by lightning.”

Does anyone know if it’s true that lightning never strikes a cedar tree?


  1. George Bird Grinnell, The Indians of To-Day (1911; reprint, New York: AMS Press Inc., 1976), 54-55.
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