Western Red Cedar (Thuja Plicata)

Western Red Cedar (Thuja Plicata) is a large evergreen that looks magnificent when planted as a single specimen in a large garden or parkland setting, although it's more often seen planted as a hedge or screen.

  • Western Red Cedar  -  Thuja Plicata  -  Leaves
  • Western Red Cedar  -  Thuja Plicata  -  Mature Trees
  • Western Red Cedar  -  Thuja Plicata  -  Leaves And Seeds

Useful info about Western Red Cedar trees

Latin NameThuja Plicata
HeightCan grow up to 60 m (196ft)
SpreadThe branches can spread out to 12 m (39ft)
Soil Types PreferredClay, Loam, Sand
Locations SuitableGardens, Hedgerows, Parks
FlowersMarch to April
FruitSeeds ripen from September to October


Western Red Cedar is a tall, conical tree that is very long lived. Some specimens can live to up to 1000 years old.

The bark of the Western Red Cedar is ridged and a dark reddish-brown colour. Older trees begin to shed their bark as they mature.

Its the foliage, dark green in colour, has a fruity scent. The foliage is mildly toxic so, it is best to avoid planting in areas where livestock graze.

Both the male and female flowers grow on the same tree. The male flowering cones are small and inconspicuous, while the female flowering cones are small, reddish-purple, and grow near the tips of branches.

Western Red Cedar is native to Western parts of North America where it is used for timber.

Western Red Cedar is very shade tolerant and so can be planted as a nursery crop for slow growing broadleaves such as oak.

Its branches do not tend to interfere with neighbouring trees, so it is considered to grow generally well in mixtures. Its timber is naturally durable and light, so most frequently used in outdoor carpentry including cladding.


The Western Red Cedar is primarily grown in the UK for timber and used in hedging.

The inner bark can be dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups, etc.


Any uses for trees or tree extracts, whether edible or medicinal, have not been tried or tested by EFORESTS.

Please take caution and seek proper advice before attempting any recipes or medicinal extracts from any of the trees listed on our site.

Culture and Symbolism

Western Red Cedar is important in Native American cultures.

It is believed that, just by standing with their back to the tree, you can receive the tree's strength.

It is the tree emblem for British Columbia in Canada.

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