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From Native Plants PNW:

Western Red Cedar is also known as Giant Arborvitae. Arborvitae literally means “tree of life.” Plicata means plaited or folded like a fan; referring to how the leaves are folded and compressed next to the tree’s branchlets.


Western Red Cedars typically grow to 120-150 feet (35-45m); the tallest today are about 200 feet (60m) tall. The widest are about 19 feet (6m) in diameter.


Western Red Cedar is easily recognized by its reddish or gray fibrous bark. The scale-like leaves are pressed tightly to stems, having the appearance of flattened braids in lacy sprays. The foliage has a sweet chamomile or tansy odor when crushed. Cinnamon-brown cones are small and elongated and stay attached to branches for a long period of time. Large branches emerge from the main trunk and droop downward, turning up at the ends.


Western Red Cedar provides cover for several wildlife species. The seeds may be eaten by Pine Siskins. Deer and elk eat the foliage and twigs. Small mammals use cavities in Western Red Cedars for dens; birds use cavities for nests.


Primary photo credit: David Prasad on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 Deed)

Secondary photo credit: brewbooks on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 Deed)

Western Redcedar

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