Botanical Name: Thuja occidentalis
Common Name: Eastern Arborvitae
Origin: NE. North America
Location: CNE, CSE
Notable Feature: Also known as the Northern White Cedar, it is abundant in coniferous swamps where other larger and faster growing trees cannot successfully compete. Hundreds of cultivars make this tree popular in the landscape trade.
Habit: An evergreen, coniferous tree in the Cypress Family with a dense, conical to narrow-pyramidal silhouette, often single-trunked with short, ascending branching to the ground. Mature trees may reach 40 to 60 feet tall in the wild, but under cultivation they typically grow much smaller to 20 to 30 feet tall.
Flowers: Monoecious, the male and female flowers are usually borne on separate twigs or branchlets; they are tiny, terminal, cone-like bodies. Male flowers are yellowish and arise from branchlets near the base of the shoot; female flowers are pinkish and appear at the tips of short terminal branchlets.
Fruit: Cones, ½” long, are yellowish and erect when young, cinnamon brown and pendant at maturity with 8 to 10 scales. Double-winged seeds are released the year after development.
Foliage: Leaves are scale-like, ¼ to ½” long, pointed, and a shiny bright green above and pale green beneath. Arranged in flattened, fan-like sprays which emit a tansy-like odor when bruised.
Bark: Reddish to greyish brown with a network of ridges and furrows; exfoliates on mature branches and trunks.
Interesting Facts: The name arborvitae, meaning "tree of life", dates from the 16th century when the French explorer Jacques Cartier learned from the Indians how to use the tree's foliage to treat scurvy; the sap has a high content of Vitamin C. The tree is highly preferred by white-tailed deer for both shelter during severe winters and for browse.