Common Name: White
Cedar, Arbor Vitae
This cone shaped evergreen can be characterized by its widely spreading
branches with scale leaved and either a single or multiple trunk.
Leaves: Scale-like and overlapping. They are green to dark green in color during the summer and in the fall become a green- yellow. When crushed they produce an aromatic scent. They persist 1-2 years.
Seeds: Small cones with thin overlapping scales. They are not very noticeable except in cone clusters. They persist through out the winter.
Twigs: Flattened in fanlike sprays.
Bark: It can be reddish or gray-brown in long shreddy strips.
Height: 30-50 feet
Conditions/Habitat/Kind of Forest: full sun to partial shade, poorly drained swamps, highly organic soil,
Known Wildlife Interactions: Used by white-tailed deer for shelter and food. It is also a common nesting site for birds such as warblers, sparrows and kinglets. Woodpeckers also create holes looking for carpenter ants. White-tailed deer, snowshoe hairs, porcupines and squirrels can all severely damage the tree due to excessive eating habits.
Range: Eastern North America from Nova Scotia south to Georgia and west to Illinois and Minnesota. In southern range found mainly around the Appalachian Mountains.
Conservation Status-US/ World Wide: Not threatened in the U.S. or globally.
Uses (Human): It can be used in landscaping. The leaves and stems can be used as incenses. It was also used by Native Americans for a wide range of medical purposes including treating fevers, coughs, rheumatic problems and numerous other things.
The Pennsylvania Flora Project. Botany Department, Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania. Accessed: April 11, 2006. <http://www.paflora.org>
UConn Plant Database. University of Connecticut. 2001. Accessed April 11, 2006. <http://www.hort.uconn.edu/plants/t/thuocc/thuocc1.html>
Plants for a Future. June 2004. Accessed: April 11, 2006. <http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Thuja+occidentalis+ >
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species <http://www.iucnredlist.org>
USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area. April 6, 2006. Accessed: April 11, 2006. <http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/Volume_1/thuja/occidentalis.htm>
Chadde, Steve W. A Great Lakes Wetland Flora. Pocketflora Press. 2002. pg.76
This page was created by: A. Coiro ,
Photos by: L. Rosenberg, edited by N. Smith
Last updated 04/25/06