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Western Red Cedar Thuja plicata


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Alternate name: Western Arborvitae, Canoe Cedar

Family: Cupressaceae, Cypress view all from this family

Description Large resinous tree with buttressed base, pointed conical crown, and horizontal branches curving at the tips. Leaves scalelike, flattened and 1.5-3 mm. long (0.5 to 0.1 in). Twigs flattened, fanlike sprays, slightly drooping. Bark thin, fibrous, stringy or shredded. Cones clustered near the ends of twigs and turned up on short stalks. Retains lower limbs except when in densely crowded stands. Roots extensive. Tap roots poorly defined or nonexistent, but fine roots develop a profuse, dense network. Root systems shallower and less extensive on wet soils than ondeep, moderately dry soils. In thick duff layer, many roots lie in the duff rather than soil.

Dimensions Height: 30-53 m or more. (100-175 ft.)
Diameter: 0.6-2.4 m or more. (2-8 ft.).

Habitat Canyons & valleys, Mountains.

Range California, Northwest, Rocky Mountains, Western Canada, Alaska.

Discussion An extremely valuable tree to the Indians of the Northwest Coast, providing materials for their shelters, clothing, dugout canoes, and fishing nets. Northwest Coast Indians shredded the inner layer of bark so finely that it could be used for diapers and cradle padding. Used in perfumes, insecticides, medicinal preparations, veterinary soaps, shoe polishes, and deodorants. Extractives and residues are used in lead refining, boiler-water additives, and glue extenders.