White Cedar

Latin Name: Thuja occidentalis

Facts about White Cedar:

  • Height: 10 to 20m tall, Trunk: 0.4m diameter

  • Location: Southeast parts of Canada

  • Moisture: Prefers moist soil

  • Sun Exposure: Tolerates some shade

  • Soil: Grows in variety of soils and does not tolerate road salt

  • Looks Like:

    • Small, hardy, slow-growing tree—usually lives for about 200 years

    • Found in swampy areas, where rock underneath is limestone

    • Cones in clumps of 5 or 6 pairs

    • Bark is thin and shiny when young, separating into flat, narrow strips as it grows older

    • Leaves are small and scaly

Biodiversity Benefits:

  • During the winter, white-tailed deer eat the twigs on the white cedar.

Historical Use:

  • White cedar is an important tree in Ojibwe culture, where it is considered a gift to humanity due to uses including crafts, construction and medicine.

  • The foliage is rich in vitamin C , and considered to be a cure for scurvy.

  • The essential oil within the plants can be used for cleansers, disinfectants, insecticides and soaps. The twigs have been used to make teas to relieve constipation and headaches.

  • Northern white cedar is commonly used in construction, for fencing, posts, lumber, poles, shingles, etc. It is also used for the structural elements, such as ribs and planking, of canoes.