WESTERN REDCEDAR

Thuja plicata

Cupressaceae

WESTERN REDCEDAR is a tree of the Pacific Northwest, though quite a number of them are planted in Berkeley, California.

Western redcedar grows from sea level to 4500 feet, and ranges from scant stands in northwestern California, into British Columbia, to Alaska, and east to Glacier National Park in Montana. It usually grows mixed with other trees, such as redwood, sitka spruce, western hemlock, douglas-fir, and red alder, though in very wet places it may dominate.

 

Western redcedar is shade tolerant and long-lived, to 1000 years. It can grow up to 200 feet tall in the wild, and the trunk may be swollen or buttressed at the base. Bark is thin, grayish to reddish brown, with long, shallow furrows. Branches tend upward at the tip, while leaves tend to droop.

Wood is durable and aromatic, used for making shingles, and extensively in the past, by Native Americans for canoes, totem poles, and entire villages.

Seed cones ares small and sit in upright clusters on the leaves.

Pairs of tiny, deep green scales are arranged in flattened, often drooping sprays. Stomata on the underside of leaves sometimes resemble bowties, or butterflies.

All photos, except as credited to others, are copyright Emerald Canary.