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Thuja plicata

(Giant Arborvitae)


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Interesting Facts

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Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Arabic:

عفص مطوي

Common Names in Chinese:

北美乔柏, 北美乔柏 (bei mei qiao bai), 大側柏 (da ce bai), 美国香柏 (mei guo xiang bai)

Common Names in Croatian:

Golema tuja

Common Names in Czech:

túje obrovská, zerav obrovský

Common Names in Danish:

Kæmpe Thuja

Common Names in Dutch:

Reuzen levensboom, Reuzenlevensboom

Common Names in English:

Giant Arborvitae, British Columbia red cedar, Canoe Cedar, Canoe-Cedar, Giant Arbor vitae, Giant Cedar, Giant-Cedar, Pacific Red cedar, Pacific Red-Cedar, Shinglewood, Western Arborvitae, Western Red Cedar, Western Red-Cedar, Western Redcedar

Common Names in Esperanto:

Giganta tujo

Common Names in Finnish:


Common Names in French:

cèdre de l'Ouest, cèdre rouge de l'Ouest, cèdre rouge occidental, Thuya De Lobb, Thuya Géant, thuya géant, thuya plissé

Common Names in German:

Lebensbaum, Riesen Lebensbaum, Riesen Thuja

Common Names in Hungarian:

Óriás életfa, Óriás tuja

Common Names in Italian:

Tuia di California, Tuia di Lobb, Tuia gigante

Common Names in Japanese:


Common Names in Lithuanian:

Didžioji tuja

Common Names in Norwegian:


Common Names in Polish:

Żywotnik olbrzymi

Common Names in Russian:

Туя складчатая, туя складчатая (tuya skladchataya)

Common Names in Slovak:

Tuja riasnatá

Common Names in Spanish, Castilian:

tuia gigante

Common Names in Turkish:

Boylu mazı


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Family Cupressaceae

Trees or shrubs evergreen , monoecious or dioecious. Leaves decussate or in whorls of 3, scalelike and then often dimorphic with flattened facial leaves and keeled lateral leaves, or needlelike particularly in juvenile plants , often with an abaxial resin gland . Pollen cones terminal or axillary , solitary, maturing and shed annually; microsporophylls 6-16, decussate or whorled , each bearing (2 or) 3-6(-9) pollen sacs ; pollen wingless. Seed cones usually terminal, solitary, globose , ovoid , or oblong , dehiscent or indehiscent when mature in 1st or 2nd(or 3rd) year; cone scales developing after ovules originate in bract axils; bracts almost completely enveloped by cone scales, free only at apex; ovules 1-numerous per bract axil, erect ; cone scales of mature cones 3-16, flat or peltate, woody, leathery, or succulent, 1-20-seeded. Seeds winged or not; wings derived from seed coat . Cotyledons usually 2, rarely 3-6. Germination epigeal.

Nineteen genera and ca. 125 species: worldwide; eight genera (one introduced ) and 46 species (16 endemic, 13 introduced) in China.[1]

Genus Thuja

Trees evergreen , small to large. Branchlets flattened, in fan-shaped, flattened, frondlike sprays . Leaves opposite in 4 ranks . Adult leaves heteromorphic; those on larger branchlets with sharp, erect , free apices to ca. 2 mm; those on flattened lateral branchlets crowded, appressed , scalelike, lateral pairs keeled , facial pairs flat; abaxial glands present or absent. Pollen cones with 2--6 pairs of sporophylls, each sporophyll with 2--4 pollen sacs . Seed cones maturing and opening first year, ellipsoid , (6--) 9--14(--18) mm; scales persistent , 4--6 pairs, overlapping, oblong and basifixed , thin and woody, 2--3 central pairs fertile , uniformly thin or with slightly enlarged apex, remaining scales sterile. Seeds 1--3 per scale, lenticular , equally 2-winged; cotyledons 2. x = 11.

Species 5: North America, e Asia.[2]

Physical Description

Species Thuja plicata

Trees to 50(--75) m , sometimes stunted in harsh environments; trunk to 2(--5) m diam., often buttressed at base ; crown conical . Bark reddish brown or grayish brown, 10--25 mm thick, fibrous , fissured . Branches arching , branchlets pendent. Leaves of branchlets (1--) 3--6 mm (sprays sometimes bearing only very small leaves), apex acute, with white markings on abaxial surface when fresh, glossy green on adaxial surface of branchlets. Pollen cones 1--3 mm, reddish. Seed cones ellipsoid , 10--14 mm, brown; fertile scales 2--3 pairs, each with evident, nearly terminal , deltate projection. Seeds 8--14 per cone, 4--7.5 mm (including wings ), reddish brown. 2 n = 22. [source]

ID Features: Fern-like branches. Conical shape. Dense, compact evergreen foliage. Scale-like leaves. Tansy-like odor emitted from crushed foliage. Small woody cone. Buttressed base.

Habit: An evergreen tree with a pyramidal shape and foliage to the ground . • Growth Form: Single StemShape and Orientation: Conical

Flowers: Not of any ornamental significance. Monoecious. At the branch tips . Borne singly. • Bloom Period: Mid SpringFlower Color: inconspicuous, none • Flower Conspicuous: No

Seeds: Seed per Pound: 414400 • Seed Spread Rate: Moderate • Seedling Vigor: Low • Fruit: Small erect cones with thin, overlapping scales . Ovoid . Green maturing to brown to tan. 0.5" long. Not particularly noticeable except when then is heavy cone set. Winged seeds. • Fruit/Seed Abundance: High • Fruit/Seed Color: Brown • Fruit/Seed Conspicuous: No • Cold Stratification Required: Yes

Foliage: Foliage Color: Green • Summer foliage: Long-pointed scale like new leaves. Resin gland on scales . Older leaves are blunt with no gland and overlapping. Glossy dark green. Crushed foliage emits a distinct tansy-like odor. • Fall foliage: Foliage discolors to yellowish-green and even somewhat brown at times. Winter color is considered ugly by sone and cultivars have been selected. for green winter foliage color. • Foliage Porosity Summer: Dense • Foliage Porosity Winter: Dense • Foliage Texture: Fine • Fall Conspicuous: No • Leaf Retention: Yes


Active Growth Period: Spring and Summer • Growth Rate: Slow-moderate. • Mature Height (feet): 150.0 • Maximum Height at 20 Years (feet): 40 • Size: 50' to 70' tall, up to 25' wide. • Vegetative Spread Rate: None • Lifespan: Lifespan


Landscape Uses: For hedges . For screens . Windbreaks. Specimen. Foundation plant (small cultivar). Cultivar selected for green winter foliage should be used in place of. species. • Liabilities: Leaf miner. Bag worms. Foliar burn in very harsh sites. Spider mites . Heavy snow often causes damage. A favorite food of deer.


On various substrates, commonly in moist sites, mixed coniferous forests , usually not in pure stands; 0--1500(--2000) m [3].

Hardy to zone 5, and warmer parts of 4.

Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 2,875 meters (0 to 9,432 feet).[4]


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Duration: PerennialCoppice Potential: No • Progagated by Bulbs: No • Propagated by Bare Root: Yes • Propagated by Container: Yes • Propagated by Corms: No • Propagated by Cuttings: No • Propagated by Seed: Yes • Propagated by Sod: No • Propagated by Sprigs: No • Propagated by Tubers: No • Fruit/Seed Period Begin: Summer • Fruit/Seed Period End: FallFruit/Seed Persistence: No


Culture: Easily transplanted from containers and B&B. Likes moist air . Prefers moist, deep, loamy soil. Tolerant of acidic and alkaline soils . Generally quite adaptable and tolerant once established . Can be sheared to maintain shape and size. Full sun ; partial shade is tolerated but plants become thin, open and much. less appealing. Tolerant of somewhat wet soils.

Soil: Adapted to Medium Textured: Adapted to Medium Textured Soils • Adapted to Coarse Textured Soils: No • Anaerobic Tolerance: None • Salinity Tolerance: None • CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium • Minimum pH: 5.1 • Maximum pH: 7.1 • Fertility Requirement: Medium

Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Full Sun . • Shade Tolerance: Tolerant

Moisture: Drought Tolerance: Low • Minimum Precipitation: 30 • Maximum Precipitation: 120 • Moisture Use: Medium

Temperature: Minimum Temperature (F): -33 • Minimum Frost Free Days: 180 • Cold Hardiness: 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b. (map)


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Thuja gigantea Nutt.


Name Status: Accepted Name .

Comment: Conservation status: LC, Habit: Tree

Last scrutiny: 5-Jun-2008

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Thuja

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 58 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

T. koraiensis (Korean Arbor-Vitae) · T. koraiensis 'Glauca Prostrata' (Korean Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Emerald' (Emerald Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis filiformis (Weeping Threadleaf Eastern Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis f. pendula (Weeping American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis var. nigra (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Sunkist' (Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis var. pyramidalis (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis var. Smaragd (Emerald Green Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Brandon' (Brandon's Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Danica' (Danica Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Degroot's Spire' (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Elegantissima' (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Emerald Green' (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Emerald Variegated' (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Golden Globe' (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Golden Tuffet' (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Gracilis' (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Hetz Midget' (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Hill's Dark Green' (Hill's Dark Green Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Holmstrup' (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Janed Gold' (White Cedar 'janed Gold') · T. occidentalis 'Little Giant' (Little Giant Dwarf Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Lutea' (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Masonic' (Masonic Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Rheingold' (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Snow Tip' (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Spiralis' (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Techny' (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Teddy' (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Tiny Tim' (Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Wansdyke Silver' (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Wareana Lutescens' (American Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Waterfield' (White Cedar 'waterfield') · T. occidentalis 'Woodwardii' (Globe Arborvitae) · T. occidentalis 'Yellow Ribbon' (American Arborvitae) · T. orientalis 'Aurea Nana' (Dwarf Golden Arborvitae) · T. orientalis 'Blue Cone' (Blue Cone Arborvitae) · T. orientalis 'Miller's Gold' (Chinese Arborvitae) · T. orientalis 'Westmont' (Westmont Arborvitae) · T. plicata (Giant Arborvitae) · T. plicata 'Atrovirens' (Atrovirens Western Red Cedar) · T. plicata 'Collyer's Gold' (Collyer's Gold Giant Arborvitae) · T. plicata 'Fastigiata' (Giant Arborvitae) · T. plicata 'Filiformis' (Giant Arborvitae) · T. plicata 'George Washington' (Giant Arborvitae) · T. plicata 'Green Giant' (Giant Arborvitae) · T. plicata 'Martin' (Western Red Cedar 'martin') · T. plicata 'Spring Grove' (Giant Arborvitae) · T. plicata 'Stoneham Gold' (Giant Arborvitae) · T. plicata 'Sunshine' (Giant Arborvitae) · T. plicata 'Virescens' (Giant Arborvitae) · T. plicata 'Whipcord' (Giant Arborvitae) · T. plicata 'Zebrina' (Giant Arborvitae) · T. standishii (Japanese Arborvitae) · T. sutchuenensis (Sichuan Arbor Vitae) · T. x 'Steeplechase' (Steeplechase Arborvitae)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 22, 2007:



  1. Liguo Fu, Yong-fu Yu, Robert P. Adams & Aljos Farjon "Cupressaceae". in Flora of China Vol. 4 Page 62. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
  2. Kenton L. Chambers "Thuja". in Flora of North America Vol. 2. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
  3. "Thuja plicata". in Flora of North America Vol. 2. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
  4. Mean = 161.660 meters (530.381 feet), Standard Deviation = 269.610 based on 2,173 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
Last Revised: 2015-01-30