About the Zoo | Employment | Volunteer | Press

Green Giant Arborvitae / Western Redcedar

Scientific Name

Thuja plicata 'Green Giant'

Origin

Found in two regions of the American northwest: The Coastal Range-Cascade Range area from southeastern Alaska to Northwestern California and the Rocky Mountain area from British Columbia and Alberta to Idaho and Montana.   

Habitat

Found in lush forest habitats such as forested swamps, wet ravines, riparian areas, wet lowlands and stream banks.  Can also be found on dry, rocky slopes. Thrives in a mixed forest situation and is commonly associated with Douglas fur and western hemlock. 

Growth Nature

A large growing tree, it can reach heights of 60 ft. with a 12 to 20 foot spread at maturity.  Generally has a conical to irregular crown with many leaders. Dense branches that arch and are pendulous along with fanning branchlets produce protection from the elements for things living below, thus one of its Native American names means “dry underneath.”        

Points of Interest

  • Not a true cedar, as indicated by the spelling “redcedar”, it is in the Cypress family.  Is one of four of Oregon’s native conifers referred to as cedars.

  • Its wood, primarily the bark, is used for shingles and shakes, and is highly durable and lightweight. Used for a variety of products including baskets, posts, fences and even clothing.

  • Cedar oil is used in insecticides, perfumes, medicines, veterinary soaps, shoe polishes and deodorants.

  • Another name for this tree is canoe cedar, since it is used in construction of canoes.