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Western Red Cedar
Thuja plicata
  
About Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) 3 Nurseries Carry This Plant Western red cedar (Thuja plicata), also Western redcedar, is a species of Thuja, an evergreen coniferous tree in the cypress family Cupressaceae. In the American horticultural trade, it is also known as the Giant Arborvitae, Arborvitae being another name for its genus. Western red cedar is the Provincial tree of British Columbia, and has extensive applications for the indigenous First Nations of the Pacific Northwest. The western red cedar is not actually a cedar (Cedrus), but belongs in the Cupressaceae family, along with cypresses. It is known by many names, Pacific red cedar, British Columbia cedar, canoe cedar, giant cedar, or just red cedar. Plicata, the species name, derives from a Greek word meaning "folded in plaits", a references to the pattern of its small leaves. It is one of two arborvitaes (Thuja) native to North America. Arborvitae comes from the Latin for "tree of life". Coincidentally, native Americans of the West coast also address the cedar as "long life maker".

Western red cedar is valued for many industrial uses, including roof shingles, construction and cedar chests. It is allergenic, can cause asthma, and construction workers are advised to limit exposure.

Left to itself, it will grow above 200 '. It can be pruned and trained to become a thick 6' tall hedge.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Plant Type
Tree

Size
Size
40 - 230 ft tall

Form
Form
Pyramidal, Upright Columnar

Growth Rate
Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate, Slow

Dormancy
Dormancy
Evergreen

Fragrance
Fragrance
Fragrant - Pleasant

Flowering Season
Flowering Season
Spring

Wildlife Supported
 
butterflies

Landscaping Information
Sun
Sun
Full Sun, Part Shade, Full Shade

Moisture
Moisture
Low

Summer Irrigation
Summer Irrigation
Keep moist

Nurseries
Nurseries

Ease of Care
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Cold Tolerance
Cold Tolerance
Tolerates cold to -15° F

Soil Drainage
Soil Drainage
Fast, Medium, Slow

Soil Description
Soil Description
Prefers loamy soils. Soil PH: 5.0 - 7.0

Common uses
Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Hedges

Maintenance
Maintenance
watch for leafhoppers. Prune in winter when wood boring insects are less active.

Propagation
Propagation?
For propagating by seed: 1-2 mos. stratification or soak in 0.2% potassium nitrate overnight (Association of Official Seed Analysts 1981). No treatment may give satisfactory germination ( USDA Forest Service 1948).

Sunset Zones
Sunset Zones?
1, 2, 3, 4*, 5*, 6*, 7*, 8, 9, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Natural Setting
Site Type
Site Type
Forests

Climate
Climate
Annual Precipitation: 41.5" - 120.5", Summer Precipitation: 1.04" - 3.15", Coldest Month: 38.2" - 47.0", Hottest Month: 57.0" - 67.6", Humidity: 0.26" - 15.76", Elevation: 20" - 3650"

Alternative Names
Common Names: Giant Arborvitae, Western Redcedar


Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora


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