Eastern white-cedar

Silhouette - eastern white-cedar
  • Latin name: Thuja occidentalis L.
  • French name: Thuya occidental
  • Synonym(s): Northern white-cedar , eastern thuja , eastern arborvitae
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 505490
  • NA2 , C3
Description

Leaves

  • Leafy shoot - eastern white-cedar
  • Shoot complex - eastern white-cedar

Form

  • Scale-like leaves with conspicuous resin glands

Length

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

Colour

  • Dull yellowish-green, turning bronze in winter

Twigs

Form

  • Leaf-covered shoots flattened
  • Shoot complex broadly fan-shaped, usually horizontal and stiff

Colour

  • Yellowish-green on both sides

Seed cones (mature)

  • Seed cone (left); winged seed (right) - eastern white-cedar

Form

  • Ovoid, upright, on a short, curved stalk

Length

  • 7–12 mm

Structure

  • Scales leathery, 5 or 6 pairs

Timing

  • Seeds dispersed in late summer; cones shed over a period of months

Bark

Form

  • Thin, with age separating into long, narrow, flat strips

Colour

  • Shiny reddish-brown when young, with age becoming grey

Wood

Texture

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

Colour

  • Heartwood light brown
  • Sapwood nearly white

Size

Height

  • To 15 m, occasionally 25 m

Diameter

  • To 30 cm, occasionally 90 cm

Maximum age

  • Several hundred years

Tree form

  • Silhouette - eastern white-cedar

Open-grown

Trunk

  • Irregular in cross section
  • Tapering rapidly
  • Often leaning, then curving upward

Crown

  • Long, narrow, dense, conical, almost columnar
  • Neat and trimmed in appearance
  • Branches bending slightly downward, gradually turning upward toward tips

Forest-grown

Trunk

  • Visible through the crown

Crown

  • Open, irregular
  • Stubs of dead branches on lower part

Root system

  • Shallow, wide-spreading

Habitat

Site

  • Swampy areas where underlying rock is limestone
  • Also on very shallow dry soils over flat limestone rock, and in sphagnum bogs

Associated species

  • Grows in small pure stands; more often mixed with other species such as eastern white pine, yellow birch, eastern hemlock, silver maple, black ash, and white elm
Insects and diseases

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

Photos
  • Eastern white-cedar
  • Eastern white-cedar
  • Eastern white-cedar
  • Eastern white-cedar
  • Eastern white-cedar
  • Eastern white-cedar
  • Eastern white-cedar
  • Eastern white-cedar
Distribution map
Distribution map - eastern white-cedar
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