Western Red Cedar
Leaves: Leaves are scale-like, decurrent, opposite in 4 ranks, each leaf green, glabrous, 1-6 mm long including decurrent base (shortest at tips, longest at base of shoot), acute to abruptly acuminate, often mucronate; stomata forming an irregular patch on the lower side of each leaf.
Inflorescence: male and female cones with ten to twelve scales
Fruit: 3 seeds beneath each scale
Habitat: Partially shaded areas where soil is rich and water is abundant
Range: USA: Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California; Canada: British Columbia, Alberta; at 0-1500 (2000) m elevation.
In modern day society, Western Red Cedar continues to play a major role in the timber industry. It provides a soft but durable wood that can be used for building houses or making shingles. It is also valued as an ornamental tree in gardens.
- The Heartwood of Thuja plicata produces tropolones which make it extreemely decay resistant and also contribute to the distinctive smell of these trees.
- This species can live up to 1000 years and grow up to 200ft!
- It is the official tree of British Colombia
- A tree in the Olympic National Forest was cored and provided a ring count of 1460 years
Forager Foundation, "Western Red Cedar-Thuja Plicata". http://www.foragerfoundation.org/native-seeds/western-redcedar-thuja-plicata. Retreived June 2015
Plantwise Knowledge Bank, "Plantwise Technical Fact Sheet: Thuja Plicata". http://www.plantwise.org/KnowledgeBank/Datasheet.aspx?dsid=53789. Retrieves June 2015
Earle Christopher J. The Gymnosperm Database, "Thuja plicata". http://www.conifers.org/cu/Thuja_plicata.php, (2015). Retrieved June 2015
USDA Forest Service, "Western Redcedar", Publications Vol 1 "Silvics of North America". http://www.na.fs.fed.us/pubs/silvics_manual/Volume_1/thuja/plicata.htm. Retrieved June 2015