cedar is the only low-elevation conifer in the Pacific Northwest with
flat, scale-like leaves. It can grow to be quite tall, up to 230 feet
red cedar has flat, wide scale-like
leaves. They often have a white
butterfly-shaped pattern on the lower surface.
cones sit on top of the branch and look like tiny rose buds.
bark is stringy. The base is buttressed, with roots that seem to want
away from the tree before they reach the ground.
Where it grows: Western
red cedar grows in moist areas throughout the Northwest between sea
level and 5000 feet (1500 meters). In some locations, it grows higher,
around the rim of Crater Lake.
of Western red cedar is light and soft. It has a
pungent, pleasing smell and an attractive red-brown color. Its
resistance to rotting
make it the wood of choice for many uses, including shingles, decking,
and fencing. It was widely used by Northwest Indians in making lodges,
canoes, totem poles, tools, and utensils. They used the bark to make
fishing nets, and even clothes.
is derived from the Greek
name for a kind of juniper. Plicata
means "pleated," referring to the pattern of its leaves. The
Indian name, "shabalup," means "dry underneath." Other common names:
Giant arborvitae (Latin for "tree of life"), canoe
cedar, Pacific red cedar, British Columbia cedar, and
western red cedar is not a true cedar. That is, its genus is not Cedrus,
the genus of the true
from the Middle East and Himalayas.
Some writers indicate this by writing
name as "western redcedar."
side of twig
and pollen cones