Thuja plicata, the Western red cedar, is a native of Western North America where it is usually found in mixed populations with Douglas fir and Western hemlock. It can grow to as much as 70m tall and individuals may live for over 1000 years. In spite of the name it is not a true cedar. It can be distinguished from many superficially similar conifers by the distinctive pineapple scent of the crushed leaves and the pointed cones. While not really suitable for a small garden, it can be maintained as a hedge. The species name means 'plaited' from the appearance of the close-packed leaves. The wood is of considerable commercial importance.
|Western red cedar in Belfast Botanic Gardens||Leaves of Western red cedar|
|Detail of 'plicate' leaves of Western red cedar||Female cones of Western red cedar|
|Female cone - detail||Distinctive reddish bark of Western red cedar|
Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2009. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.
Click here to view the rest of the tree archive