Western redcedar

Silhouette - western redcedar
  • Latin name: Thuja plicata Donn ex D. Don
  • French name: Thuya géant
  • Synonym(s): Western thuja , giant arborvitae
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 18044
  • NA5 , C6
Description

Leaves

  • Leafy shoot - western redcedar
  • Shoot complex - western redcedar

Form

  • Scale-like leaves have inconspicuous resin glands on outer surface

Length

  • Scale-like leaves 1–2 mm
  • Lance-shaped leaves 4–5 mm

Colour

  • Shiny yellowish-green

Twigs

Form

  • Shoot complex elongated, tapering, often fern-like and pendulous

Colour

  • Upper surface yellowish-green
  • Lower surface often whitened

Seed cones (mature)

  • Seed cone (left); winged seed (right) - western redcedar

Form

  • Ovoid
  • 8–10 scales, often with a small, weak, sharp point near the tip

Length

  • 12–18 mm

Timing

  • Ripen in late summer
  • Shed during the winter

Bark

Form

  • Thin, shiny when young
  • Shredded, with age forming narrow flat ridges

Colour

  • Reddish-brown

Wood

Texture

  • Very light, soft, relatively weak
  • Characteristic odour
  • Heartwood resistant to decay
  • Sapwood less resistant to decay

Colour

  • Heartwood pinkish or reddish-brown to deep brown
  • Sapwood yellowish-white

Morphology

  • Straight-grained

Uses

  • Shakes and shingles, poles, posts
  • Boatbuilding, greenhouse construction
  • Outdoor patios, exterior siding
  • Doors, window sashes, millwork, interior finishing

Size

Height

  • To 60 m

Diameter

  • To 250 cm

Maximum age

  • 800 years

Tree form

  • Silhouette - western redcedar

Open-grown

Trunk

  • Often obscured by dense live foliage

Crown

  • At altitudes above 1500 m, a small tree or shrub

Forest-grown

Trunk

  • Tapering rapidly, flaring and buttressed at the base

Crown

  • Long, symmetrical, narrowly conical, becoming irregular with age
  • Principal branches spreading, drooping, upturned at the ends
  • An old tree may have one or more dead tops

Root system

  • Shallow, wide-spreading, strong

Habitat

Site

  • From sea level to 2000 m in forests of the coast and wetter parts of interior British Columbia
  • Grows best on moist alluvial sites
  • Also found on rich dry soils and in sphagnum bogs

Associated species

  • Seldom occurs in pure stands
  • Usually mixed with species such as Douglas-fir, Sitka spruce, western hemlock, black cottonwood, red alder
  • At higher elevations, with Engelmann spruce and western larch

Range

A western species

Insects and diseases

Insects and diseases that are found most frequently and/or that cause the most damage in our Canadian forests.

Photos
  • Western redcedar
  • Western redcedar
  • Western redcedar
  • Western redcedar
  • Western redcedar
  • Western redcedar
  • Western redcedar
  • Western redcedar
  • Western redcedar
Distribution map
Distribution map - western redcedar
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