Thuja plicata - Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core

Thuja plicata – Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core

Thuja plicata, generally referred to as western[2] or Pacific redcedar,[3]big or western arborvitae,[3]big cedar,[3] or shinglewood,[3] is a species of Thuja, an evergreen coniferous tree within the cypress household Cupressaceae native to western North America. The provincial tree of British Columbia, it has in depth functions for Native People of the Pacific Northwest.[4]


Thuja plicata is among the many most widespread timber within the Pacific Northwest. It’s related to Douglas-fir and western hemlock in most locations the place it grows. It’s discovered on the elevation vary of sea degree to a most of two,290 m (7,510 ft) above sea degree at Crater Lake in Oregon.[5] Along with rising in lush forests and mountainsides, western redcedar can be a riparian tree, rising in lots of forested swamps and streambanks in its vary.[6] The tree is shade-tolerant and in a position to reproduce underneath dense shade.[7]

It has been launched to different temperate zones, together with western Europe, Australia (at the very least as far north as Sydney), New Zealand,[8][9] the japanese United States (at the very least as far north as Central New York),[citation needed] and better elevations of Hawaii.[10]

The species is naturalized in Britain.[11]


Thuja plicata is a big to very giant tree, ranging as much as 65 to 70 m (213 to 230 ft) tall and three to 4 m (9.eight to 13.1 ft) in trunk diameter, exceptionally even bigger.[4][12] Bushes rising within the open could have a crown that reaches the bottom, whereas timber densely spaced collectively will exhibit a crown solely on the prime, the place mild can attain the leaves.[13] It’s long-lived; some people can reside effectively over a thousand years, with the oldest verified being 1460 years.[4][12]

The foliage kinds flat sprays with scale-like leaves in reverse pairs, with successive pairs at 90 levels to one another. The foliage sprays are inexperienced above and inexperienced marked with whitish stomatal bands under; they’re strongly fragrant, with a scent paying homage to pineapple when crushed. The person leaves are 1 to 4 mm (0.039 to 0.157 in) lengthy and 1 to 2 mm (0.039 to 0.079 in) broad on most foliage sprays, however as much as 12 mm (0.47 in) lengthy on strong-growing lead shoots.[4][12]

The cones are slender, 10 to 18 mm (0.39 to 0.71 in) lengthy, and Four to five mm (0.16 to 0.20 in) broad, with eight to 12 (not often 14) skinny, overlapping scales. They’re inexperienced to yellow-green, ripening brown in fall about six months after pollination, and open at maturity to shed the seeds. The seeds are Four to five mm lengthy and 1 mm (0.039 in) broad, with a slender papery wing down either side. The pollen cones are Three to 4 mm (0.12 to 0.16 in) lengthy, purple or purple at first, and shed yellow pollen in spring.[4][12]

Taxonomy and title

Thuja plicata is considered one of two Thuja species native to North America, the opposite being Thuja occidentalis. The species title plicata derives from the Latin phrase plicare, which means “folded in plaits” or “braided,” a reference to the sample of its small leaves.[13]

Most authorities, each in Canada[14][15] and america[5][16][17][18] cite the English title in two phrases as western redcedar, or sometimes hyphenated as western red-cedar,[12] to point it isn’t a real cedar (Cedrus), however additionally it is cited as western purple cedar in some in style works. Within the American horticultural commerce, additionally it is often known as the enormous arborvitae, by comparability with arborvitae for its shut relative Thuja occidentalis. Different names embody big redcedar, Pacific redcedar, shinglewood, British Columbia cedar, canoe cedar, and purple cedar.[4][19]Arborvitae comes from the Latin for “tree of life”; coincidentally, Native People of the West coast additionally tackle the species as “lengthy life maker”.[19]

One endonymous title for the tree is the Halkomelem phrase xepá:y,[20] from the roots xíp, which means “scratch” or “line”, and á:y, “bark”;[21] the previous root could also be in reference to each the lined or “folded/braided” look of the bark and the tree’s ubiquity in carving and different types of woodwork.

Notable specimens

The “Quinault Lake Redcedar” is the most important western redcedar on the earth.

The “Quinault Lake Redcedar” is the most important recognized western redcedar on the earth, with a wooden quantity of 17,650 cubic ft (500 m3). Positioned close to the northwest shore of Lake Quinault north of Aberdeen, Washington, about 34 km (21 mi) from the Pacific Ocean, it’s one-third the quantity of the most important recognized tree, an enormous sequoia named “Normal Sherman”. The Quinault Lake Redcedar is 174 ft (53 m) tall with a diameter of 19.5 ft (5.9 m) at breast peak.[4][22] The second largest is the Cheewhat Lake Cedar, in Pacific Rim Nationwide Park Reserve on Vancouver Island, at 15,870 cubic ft (449 m3).[23] The tallest recognized particular person is the Willaby Creek Tree south of Lake Quinault, 195 ft (59 m) in peak.[24] The fifth recognized largest was the Kalaloch Cedar within the Olympic Nationwide Park, at 12,370 cubic ft (350 m3),[25] till it was destroyed by storm in March 2014.[26]

A redcedar over 71 m (233 ft) tall, 4.5 m (15 ft) in diameter, and over 700 years previous stood in Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, earlier than it was set on hearth and destroyed by vandals in 1972. That tree now lies in “Big’s Grave”, a self dug grave created by the drive of its personal impression.[27]

Makes use of


The tender red-brown timber has a decent, straight grain and few knots. It’s valued for its distinct look, aroma, and its excessive pure resistance to decay, being extensively used for out of doors development within the type of posts, decking, shingles, and siding.[28] It’s generally used for the framing and longwood in light-weight sail boats and kayaks. In bigger boats it’s usually utilized in sandwich development between two layers of epoxy resin and/or fibreglass or related merchandise. As a consequence of its mild weight—390 to 400 kg/m3 (24 to 25 lb/cu ft) dried—it’s about 30% lighter than widespread boat constructing woods, equivalent to mahogany. For its weight it’s fairly sturdy however may be brittle. It glues effectively with epoxy resin or resorcinol adhesive.

It is usually used to line closets and chests, for its pungent fragrant oils are believed to discourage moth and carpet beetle larvae, which might injury material by consuming wool and related fibres.[28] That is more practical in a correctly constructed redcedar chest (typically made completely of redcedar), for the reason that oils are confined by shellac and leather-based seals. A well-sealed redcedar chest will retain its pungent odour for a lot of many years, typically for over a century. Its mild weight, energy and darkish heat sound make it a preferred selection for guitar soundboards.


Like its relative Thuja occidentalis and plenty of different conifer species, Thuja plicata is grown as a decorative tree, and for screens and hedges, all through the world in gardens and parks. All kinds of kinds, sizes, and hues is obtainable.[29]


The next cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Backyard Advantage:

  • ‘Atrovirens’[30]      
Different makes use of

Thujaplicin, a chemical substance, is present in mature timber and serves as a pure fungicide,[33][34] thereby stopping the wooden from rotting. This impact lasts round a century even after the tree is felled. Nevertheless, thujaplicin is just present in older timber. Saplings that don’t produce the chemical usually rot at an early stage, inflicting some timber to develop with a considerably hole, rotten trunk.[19]

It is usually extensively used all through Europe and America for making beehive frames.

Position in indigenous societies

Western redcedar has an intensive historical past of use by Native People of coastal Oregon to southeast Alaska. Some northwest coast tribes check with themselves as “folks of the redcedar” due to their in depth dependence on the tree for fundamental supplies. The wooden has been used for establishing housing and totem poles, and crafted into many objects, together with masks, utensils, packing containers, boards, devices, canoes, vessels, homes, and ceremonial objects. Roots and bark had been used for baskets, bowls, ropes, clothes, blankets, and rings.[35][36]

Historical past

An enormous variety of archeological finds level to the continual use of redcedar wooden in native societies. Woodworking instruments relationship between 8000 and 5000 years in the past, equivalent to carved antlers, had been found in shell middens on the Glenrose web site, close to Vancouver, British Columbia.[37] In Yuquot, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, instruments relationship 4000 to 3000 years previous have been discovered.[37] The Musqueam web site, additionally close to Vancouver, yielded bark baskets woven in 5 totally different types, together with ropes and ships dated to 3000 years in the past. At Pitt River, adzes and baskets had been dated round 2900 years aol. Picket artifacts 1000 years previous had been unearthed on the east coast of Vancouver Island.[38]

Crimson cedar was used extensively wherever it was discovered alongside the northwest coast (British Columbia, Washington state, Elements of Alaska). Proof of this use is present in CMTs (Culturally Modified Bushes) which are discovered all through the coast. When First Nations folks eliminated the bark from cedars, it left a scar – which is taken into account a CMT. Different sorts of harvest (for planks, tinder, and different makes use of) depart various kinds of proof of cultural modification.

A legend amongst the Coast Salish peoples describes the origins of the western redcedar. On this legend, there was a beneficiant man who gave the folks no matter they wanted. When the Nice Spirit noticed this, he declared that when the beneficiant man died, an important redcedar tree will develop the place he’s buried, and that the cedar will likely be helpful to all of the folks, offering its roots for baskets, bark for clothes, and wooden for shelter.[37]


The wooden was labored primarily with the adze, which was most well-liked over all different instruments, even ones launched by European settlers. Alexander Walker, an ensign on the fur commerce ship Captain Cook dinner, reported that the indigenous peoples used an elbow adze, which they valued over new instruments introduced by the Europeans, such because the noticed or the axe, going as far as to change traded instruments again into an adze. Instruments had been typically constructed from stone, bone, obsidian, or a tougher wooden equivalent to hemlock. Quite a lot of hand mauls, wedges, chisels, and knives had been used. Excavations finished at Ozette, Washington turned up iron instruments practically 800 years previous, far earlier than European contact. When James Cook dinner handed the world, he noticed that the majority instruments had been product of iron.[39] There was hypothesis on the origin of those iron instruments. Some theories embody shipwrecks from East Asia or doable contact with iron-using cultures from Siberia, as hinted within the extra superior woodworking present in northern tribes such because the Tlingit.[39][40][41][42]


Harvesting redcedars required some ceremony and included propitiation of the tree’s spirits in addition to these of the encompassing timber. Specifically, many individuals particularly requested the tree and its brethren to not fall or drop heavy branches on the harvester,[43] a scenario which is talked about in quite a lot of totally different tales of people that weren’t sufficiently cautious. Some skilled loggers of Native American descent have talked about that they provide quiet or silent propitiations to timber which they fell, following on this custom.

Felling of huge timber equivalent to redcedar earlier than the introduction of metal instruments was a fancy and time-consuming artwork. Sometimes the bark was eliminated across the base of the tree above the buttresses. Then some quantity of reducing and splitting with stone adzes and mauls could be finished, creating a large triangular lower. The realm above and under the lower could be coated with a mix of moist moss and clay as a firebreak. Then the lower could be full of tinder and small kindling and slowly burned. The method of reducing and burning would alternate till the tree was largely penetrated by means of, after which cautious tending of the hearth would fell the tree in the very best route for dealing with. This course of may take many days. Fixed rotation of employees was concerned to maintain the fires burning by means of night time and day, usually in a distant and forbidding location.[44]

As soon as the tree was felled, the work had solely simply begun, because it then needed to be stripped and dragged all the way down to shore. If the tree was to change into canoes, then it might usually be divided into sections and labored into tough canoe shapes earlier than transport. If it had been for use for a totem pole or constructing supplies, it might be towed within the spherical to the village.[45] Many timber are nonetheless felled on this conventional method to be used as totem poles and canoes, significantly by artists who really feel that utilizing fashionable instruments is detrimental to the normal spirit of the artwork. Non-traditionalists merely purchase redcedar logs or lumber at mills or lumber yards, a observe that’s generally adopted by most working in smaller sizes equivalent to for masks and staves.

As a result of felling required such a rare quantity of labor, if solely planks for housing had been wanted, these could be break up from the dwelling tree. The bark was stripped and saved, and two cuts had been made on the ends of the planking. Then wedges could be pounded in alongside the perimeters and the planks slowly break up off the facet of the tree.[46] Bushes which have been so harvested are nonetheless seen in some locations within the rainforest, with apparent chunks taken off of their sides. Such timber normally proceed to develop completely effectively, since redcedar wooden is immune to decay. Planks are straightened by a wide range of strategies, together with weighing them down with stones, lashing them along with rope, or forcing them between a line of stakes.[47]

Illustration of girls pulling bark from a tree, from Indian Legends of Vancouver Island by Alfred Carmichael

Redcedar wooden is used to make big monoxyla canoes wherein the lads went out to excessive sea to harpoon whales and conduct commerce.[48] A kind of canoes, a 38-foot (12 m) craft dug out a few century in the past, was purchased in 1901 by Captain John Voss, an adventurer. He gave her the title of Tilikum (“Pal” in Chinook jargon), rigged her, and led her in a busy three-year voyage from British Columbia to London.[49]

Redcedar branches are very versatile and have good tensile energy. They had been stripped and used as sturdy cords for fishing line, rope cores, twine, and different functions the place bark twine was not sturdy sufficient or may fray. Each the branches and bark rope have been changed by fashionable fiber and nylon cordage among the many aboriginal northwest coast peoples, although the bark continues to be in use for the opposite functions talked about above.


On the proper time of yr, the bark is well faraway from reside timber in lengthy strips. It’s harvested to be used in making mats, rope and cordage, basketry, rain hats, clothes, and different tender items. The harvesting of bark should be finished with care as a result of, if the tree is totally stripped, it would die. To stop this, the harvester normally solely harvests from timber which haven’t been stripped earlier than.[50] After harvesting the tree is just not used for bark once more, though it could later be felled for wooden. Stripping bark is normally began with a collection of cuts on the base of the tree above any buttresses, after which the bark is peeled upwards. To take away bark excessive up, a pair of platforms strung on rope across the tree are used and the harvester climbs by alternating between them for assist. Since redcedars lose their decrease branches as all tall timber do within the rainforest, the harvester could climb 10 m (33 ft) or extra into the tree by this methodology. The harvested bark is folded and carried in backpacks.[51] It may be saved for fairly a while as mould doesn’t develop on it, and is moistened earlier than unfolding and dealing. It’s then break up lengthwise into the required width and woven or twisted into form. Bark harvesting was largely finished by ladies, regardless of the hazard of climbing 10 meters within the air, as a result of they had been the first makers of bark items.[52]

Right this moment bark rope making is a misplaced artwork in lots of communities, though it’s nonetheless practiced for adornment or artwork in just a few locations. Different makes use of of bark are nonetheless widespread for creative or sensible functions. In recent times there was a revival of cedar weaving in some communities, and together with it, new types of cedar bark merchandise. For instance, in some current weddings cedar roses are used to embellish the tables.

Authorized standing

Western purple cedar is export-restricted in america underneath the Export Administration Rules.

Well being and security

Western purple cedar is extremely allergenic and woodworkers or loggers who work with it could have adversarial reactions, together with the event of occupational bronchial asthma, exacerbation of current bronchial asthma, discount of lung operate, and eye irritation. Roughly 5% of employees are allergic to western purple cedar. The US Occupational Security and Well being Administration has set a permissible publicity restrict for purple cedar mud of two.5 mg/m3 as a time-weighted common over eight hours.[53]

See additionally


  1. A. Farjon (2013). “Thuja plicata“. IUCN Crimson Record of Threatened Species. Model 2013.2. Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2 December 2013.CS1 maint: ref=harv (hyperlink)
  2. Thuja plicata“. Pure Sources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  3. “USDA GRIN taxonomy”.
  4. Gymnosperm Database: Thuja plicata
  5. 5.05.1 U.S. Forest Service, Silvics Handbook: Western Redcedar
  6. Stewart, p. 21
  7. Priestman, Lauren. “Plant Description: Thuja plicata/Western Crimson Cedar”. Northern Rockies Pure Historical past Information. College of Montana, Missoula. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  8. Flora of North America, p. 411
  9. Hill, p. 103
  10. Skolmen, Roger G. “Pure Sturdiness of Some Woods Utilized in Hawaii”. Pacific Southwest Forest and Vary Experiment Station. U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  11. Interactive Flora of Northwest Europe: Thuja plicata
  12. Farjon (2005)
  13. 13.013.1 Stewart, p. 24
  14. British Columbia Forests & Vary Tree Ebook: Thuja plicata
  15. British Columbia Tree Species Compendium Western redcedar
  16. USDA Crops Profile: Thuja plicata
  17. Hearth Results Data System Thuja plicata
  18. Flora of North America: Thuja plicata
  19. Stewart, p. 22
  20. Dictionary of Upriver Halkomelem, Quantity II pp. 1605. Galloway, Brent Douglas
  21. Dictionary of Upriver Halkomelem, Quantity I pp. 996. Galloway, Brent Douglas
  22. Van Pelt, p. 32
  23. Van Pelt, p. 34
  24. Van Pelt, p. 36
  25. Van Pelt, p. 37
  26. Unique Hikes, “Olympic Nationwide Park’s Kalaloch Cedar Destroyed by Storm”
  27. Image of the Cathedral Grove stump.
  28. 28.028.1 Chase, Jeri (Fall 2008). “Western Redcedar, “Tree of Life(PDF). Forests for Oregon. Oregon Division of Forestry. pp. 18–19. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  29. Bitner, p. 424
  30. “RHS Plant Selector – Thuja plicata ‘Atrovirens. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  31. “RHS Plant Selector – Thuja plicata ‘Aurea. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  32. “RHS Plant Selector – Thuja plicata ‘Stoneham Gold. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  33. Gardner, p. 21
  34. Chedgy et al. (2009)
  35. Stewart, pp. 17–19
  36. Van Pelt, p. 30
  37. Stewart, p. 27
  38. Stewart, p. 26
  39. 39.039.1 Stewart, p. 36
  40. Pritzker, p. 292
  41. Miller, p. 67
  42. DeCapua, pp. 16–20
  43. Stewart, p. 39
  44. Stewart, pp. 37–38
  45. Stewart, p. 40
  46. Stewart, p. 42
  47. Stewart, p. 43
  48. McNeese, p. 43
  49. Dill, pp. 127–128
  50. Stewart, p. 116
  51. Stewart, p. 115
  52. Stewart, p. 113
  53. “Wooden Mud”. OSHA/NIOSH. 28 September 2011.

Works cited

  • Bitner, Richard L. (2007). Conifers for Gardens: an Illustrated Encyclopedia. United Kingdom: Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-830-5.
  • Chedgy, Russell J., Younger Woon Lim & Colette Breuil (2009). “Results of leaching on fungal progress and decay of western redcedar (Thuja plicata)”. Canadian Journal of Microbiology. 55 (5): 578–586. doi:10.1139/W08-161. PMID 19483786.CS1 maint: a number of names: authors checklist (hyperlink)
  • DeCapua, Sarah (2010). The Tlingit. First People. Tarrytown, New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark. ISBN 0-7614-4135-2.
  • Dill, J. Gregory (2006). Fantasy, Truth, And Navigators’ Secrets and techniques: Unbelievable Tales of the Sea And Sailors. Guilford, Connecticut: The Lyons Press. ISBN 1-59228-879-0.
  • Farjon, A. (2005). Monograph of Cupressaceae and Sciadopitys. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 1-84246-068-4.
  • Flora of North America. 2: Pteridophytes and Gymnosperms. New York, New York: Oxford College Press. 1993. ISBN 0-19-508242-7.
  • Gardner, J. A. F. (1963). The Chemistry and Utilization of Western Crimson Cedar. Ottawa, Ontario: Division of Forestry. OCLC 65814710.
  • Hill, Anthony (1985). Vintage Furnishings in Australia. Victoria, British Columbia: Viking Press. ISBN 0-670-80319-7.
  • McNeese, Tim (2002). Early North America. St. Louis, Missouri: Milliken Publishing. ISBN 0-7877-0527-6.
  • Miller, Mike (2008). Alaska’s Southeast: Touring the Inside Passage (11th ed.). Guilford, Connecticut: Globe Pequot Press. ISBN 0-7627-4535-5. ISSN 1545-1941.
  • Pritzker, Barry M. (1998). Native People: An Encyclopedia of Historical past, Tradition, and Peoples. 1. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 0-87436-836-7.
  • Stewart, Hilary (1984). Cedar: Tree of Life to the Northwest Coast Indians. Vancouver, British Columbia: Douglas & McIntyre. ISBN 0-88894-437-3.
  • Van Pelt, Robert (2001). Forest Giants of the Pacific Coast. International Forest Society and College of Washington Press. ISBN 0-295-98140-7.
  • Zsolt Debreczy, Istvan Racz (2012). Kathy Musial (ed.). Conifers Across the World (1st ed.). DendroPress. p. 1089. ISBN 963-219-061-0.

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