Northwest Conifers

Port Orford Cedar – Chamaecyparis lawsoniana Speaker

Port Orford Cedar


USGS Distribution Map

Port Orford cedar is a large, attractive tree that grows to 200 feet (60 meters).

Leaves: Small, flat scales, often with a white X pattern below. 

Cones: Round and woody, similar to Alaska cedar and cypress cones. 


Bark: Brown with flat ridges and furrows. Thick on old trees.

Where it grows: Along the Pacific Coast from Coos Bay, Oregon to the Klamath River in California, extending to 5000 feet (1500 meters) in the Siskiyous.  

Locations: At the Oregon Caves National Monument on the Big Tree Trail (42.10124 -123.40306). You can find several plantings in Portland's Forest Park, for example at the top of the Dogwood trail (45 32.397 -122 43.967) and at miles 14.3 and 16.6 on the Wildwood Trail.

Port Orford cedar at Hoyt Arboretum

Uses: Similar to western red cedar for decking and fencing. However, limited supply and popularity in Japan contribute to high prices. Cultivars are popular ornamentals.

Names: The scientific name honors Peter Lawson, who first introduced Port Orford cedar cultivars. Other common names: white cedar, Oregon cedar.

Note that Port Orford cedar is not a true cedar. That is, its genus is not Cedrus, the genus of the true cedars from the middle-east.




X's under leaves


Pollen Cones

Port Orford Cedar Bark

© 2012 Ken Denniston