Thuja plicata (Western Redcedar, Western Red Cedar) is a large evergreen tree native to the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Western Redcedar is a tall and long-lived tree that can reach heights of up to 60 meters (197 feet) and have trunk diameters of 2-4 meters (6-13 feet). It has a pyramidal or columnar shape with a straight trunk. The foliage consists of flattened sprays of scale-like leaves that are green to dark green in color.
Native Habitat: Western Redcedar is native to the coastal regions of western North America, ranging from southern Alaska to northern California. It thrives in the moist and temperate climates of this region and is commonly found in forests and along riverbanks.
Cultivation: Due to its durability, attractive appearance, and resistance to decay, Western Redcedar is widely cultivated as an ornamental tree in gardens and parks. It also serves as a valuable timber tree for its high-quality, rot-resistant wood, which is used for various purposes, including construction, furniture, and boat building.
Characteristics: The wood of Western Redcedar is lightweight, soft, and aromatic. It has a reddish-brown to pinkish-brown color, often with streaks of lighter and darker tones. The tree's bark is fibrous, reddish-brown, and peels off in long, narrow strips.
Environmental Role: Western Redcedar plays a vital ecological role in its native habitat. It provides habitat and nesting sites for various bird species, including the endangered Marbled Murrelet. The tree's thick foliage provides shelter for small mammals and contributes to the stability of soil along riverbanks.
Cultural Significance: Western Redcedar has significant cultural and historical importance to Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest. It is used for traditional purposes, such as building totem poles, canoes, and longhouses. The tree holds spiritual and medicinal value in indigenous cultures.
Conservation Status: While Western Redcedar is not currently considered a threatened species, habitat loss and overharvesting pose challenges to its long-term sustainability. Sustainable forestry practices and conservation efforts aim to protect and manage the tree's populations.