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Edible uses


Inner bark - fresh or dried[1][2][3]. The inner bark can be dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread. A pitch obtained from the trunk has been used as a chewing gum[4].

Unknown part


Inner bark

Material uses

Tolerant of light trimming and of reasonable exposure, this species can be grown as a hedge or as part of a shelterbelt[5].

An infusion of the boughs can be used as a hair wash to treat dandruff and scalp germs[4]. The fibrous inner bark can be pounded until it is soft and then used as a sponge for scouring dishes etc, or can be used for making rough clothing, blankets, mats, ropes, sanitary towels, a padding in a baby's cradle, nappies etc. Waterproof hats, capes, trousers, skirts etc can be made from the inner bark[4]. It is also used in thatching and as a stuffing material for mattresses[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][4]. Inner bark strips have been used as a roofing material[4]. The bark has also been used to make paint brushes[4]. The inner bark has been used to make a wick for oil lamps[4]. The inner bark has been used for making baskets[4]. The roots are used in basket making, making nets etc[9]. The roots have been used in coiled and imbricated baskets[4]. The roots have been peeled, split and used to make coiled watertight baskets that can be used for boiling water[4]. The roots are harvested in the spring or early autumn when it is easier to remove the bark. The outer strips of the roots are used to make the bottom of the basket, the centre core is used in the coils and the root bark, because of its toughness, is used to make the edges[4]. The fibrous bark is used for roofing and the sides of shelters. It is also used as an insulation[7][9]. A fibre obtained from the bark is used in making paper. The fibre is about 3.8mm long (this refers to the heartwood fibre, the inner bark fibre is probably longer)[13]. Branches can be harvested at any time of the year, they are cut into usable pieces and pre-soaked in clear water prior to cooking. They are then cooked for six hours or more with lye. It is difficult to rinse it to clear water because it seems to be a dye material[13]. The fibre is then hand pounded with mallets, or put through a blender or a ball mill for six hours. It is difficult to hydrate properly. The resulting paper is a rich deep brown/red[13]. The slender pliable branches are used as a high quality rope[4]. They are gathered in spring, peeled and, if thick, are split into halves or quarters. They are then twisted and worked until soft and pliable and finally woven together to make the rope[9]. A green dye can be obtained from the leaves and twigs[4]. The inner bark can be used as a tinder[4].

Wood - aromatic, light, soft, straight-grained, not strong, very resistant to decay. This resistance to decay is probably due to the existence of powerful fungicides in the wood[12]. The wood from fallen trees remains sound for at least 100 years[12]. It is pale to dark red in colour[12]. The wood was widely utilized by many native North American Indian tribes who used it for making a wide range of items including canoes, houses, totem poles, bowls, spoons, ladles and tools[12][4]. It is currently used in making greenhouses[14][15][8][11]. The wood is not of such good quality when grown in mild humid areas[14]. It makes a good fuel, burning with very little smoke, though it burns quickly[9].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Western red cedar was employed medicinally by a number of native North American Indian tribes, who used it to treat a wide range of complaints[4]. It is seldom, if ever, used in modern herbalism.

An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of stomach pains and diarrhoea[4]. A decoction of the leaves has been used in the treatment of colds[4]. A decoction of the powdered leaves has been used externally to treat various internal pains, including rheumatism[4]. The leaf buds have been chewed in the treatment of toothaches and sore lungs[4]. A decoction of the buds has been used as a gargle[4]. A decoction of the small branches has been used in the treatment of coughs, colds and tuberculosis[4]. A weak infusion has been drunk in the treatment of painful joints caused by rheumatism or arthritis[4]. A poultice of the crushed bough tips and oil has been applied to the back and chest in the treatment of bronchitis, rheumatism, stomach pains and swollen neck[4]. An infusion of the twigs has been used as a wash in the treatment of venereal disease sores[4]. A decoction of the boughs has been used as an antidandruff shampoo[4]. A decoction of the stem tips and the roots has been used in the treatment of colds[4]. An infusion of the bark and twigs has been used in the treatment of kidney complaints[4]. An infusion of the seeds and twigs has been used in the treatment of fevers[4]. The chewed bark, or a decoction of the bark, has been drunk to induce menstruation[4]. A moxa of the inner bark has been used as a counter-irritant for the skin[4]. A poultice of the inner bark has been applied to carbuncles[4]. The bark has been pounded until it is as soft as cotton and then used to rub the face[4]. The very soft bark has been used to bind wounds and cover dressings[4].

The shredded bark has been used to cauterize sores and swellings[4].


Ecosystem niche/layer


Ecological Functions




Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - best sown when ripe in the autumn in a cold frame[16]. Stored seed germinates best if given a short cold stratification[16]. It can be sown in a cold frame in late winter. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

If growing large quantities of plants, the seed can be sown in an outdoor seed bed in mid spring[17]. Grow the plants on for two years and then plant them out into their permanent positions in late autumn or early spring. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, July/August in a shaded frame. Forms roots by the end of September but it should be overwintered in a frame[17].

Cuttings of almost ripe wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel, September in a cold frame. Forms roots in the following summer. Plant out in autumn or spring[17].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Thuja plicata. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Prefers a moist loamy soil[14][18]. Dislikes dry soils[15]. Not suitable for light sandy soils because it is shallow rooting[5], but it succeeds on most other soil types, even on waterlogged soils and heavy clays[18][19]. Succeeds in chalky soils[19]. Prefers some shelter from the wind according to some reports[14][18] whilst others say that it is fairly wind resistant[15][5]. Trees tolerate salt winds[5] but not severe maritime exposure[K].

The wood and foliage are highly aromatic[12]. The foliage has a strong fruity smell, like pear-drops or crushed apples[20]. A fast growing tree, it often puts out new growth of 1 metre a year and can average 60cm a year for the first 40 years. Increase in girth can also be rapid, 5cm a year for the first 60 years has been recorded[20]. Sometimes planted for forestry in Britain[21], it is at its best in the moister western half of the country[15][20]. There are many named varieties selected for their ornamental value[22]. Tolerant of light trimming, so long as this is not back into old wood, plants also retain their lower branches unless these are shaded out by neighbouring plants[15]. The foliage turns bronze in cold weather[18].

Trees are notably susceptible to honey fungus[18][19].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Thuja plicata. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Thuja plicata.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Thuja plicata
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Strong wind
  • Maritime exposure
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Flower Colour
Flower Type

"image:Thuja plicata shoot.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Thuja plicata shoot.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Thuja plicata shoot.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Thuja plicata shoot.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Thuja plicata shoot.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Thuja plicata shoot.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Thuja plicata shoot.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Thuja plicata shoot.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Thuja plicata shoot.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Thuja plicata shoot.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Thuja plicata shoot.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Thuja plicata shoot.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Thuja plicata shoot.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Thuja plicata shoot.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Thuja plicata shoot.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

"image:Thuja plicata shoot.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki."image:Thuja plicata shoot.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki."image:Thuja plicata shoot.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


  1. ? 1.01.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
  2. ? 2.02.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
  3. ? 3.03.1 Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237. U.S. Depf of Agriculture. ()
  4. ? Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
  5. ? Rosewarne experimental horticultural station. Shelter Trees and Hedges. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1984-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  7. ? Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
  8. ? Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America. Dover Publications Inc. New York. ISBN 0-486-20278-X (1965-00-00)
  9. ? Turner. N. J. Plants in British Columbian Indian Technology. British Columbia Provincial Museum ISBN 0-7718-8117-7 (1979-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.1 Gunther. E. Ethnobotany of Western Washington. University of Washington Press ISBN 0-295-95258-X (1981-00-00)
  11. ? Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
  12. ? Lauriault. J. Identification Guide to the Trees of Canada Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Ontario. ISBN 0889025649 (1989-00-00)
  13. ? Bell. L. A. Plant Fibres for Papermaking. Liliaceae Press (1988-00-00)
  14. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  15. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
  16. ? 16.016.1 Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-00-00)
  17. ? Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
  18. ? Rushforth. K. Conifers. Christopher Helm ISBN 0-7470-2801-X (1987-00-00)
  19. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  20. ? Mitchell. A. F. Conifers in the British Isles. HMSO ISBN 0-11-710012-9 (1975-00-00)
  21. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)
  22. ? Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-86318-386-7 (1990-00-00)
  23. ? Hitchcock. C. L. Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press (1955-00-00)

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Facts about "Thuja plicata"RDF feed
Article is incompleteYes +
Article requires citationsNo +
Article requires cleanupYes +
Belongs to familyCupressaceae +
Belongs to genusThuja +
Functions asHedge + and Windbreak +
Has common nameWestern Red Cedar +
Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
Has edible partUnknown part + and Inner bark +
Has edible useGum + and Unknown use +
Has environmental toleranceMaritime exposure + and High wind +
Has fertility typeWind +
Has flowers of typeMonoecious +
Has growth rateVigorous +
Has hardiness zone6 +
Has imageThuja plicata shoot.jpg +
Has lifecycle typePerennial +
Has material partUnknown part +
Has material useBaby care +, Basketry +, Brush +, Dye +, Fibre +, Fuel +, Fungicide +, Hair care +, Insulation +, Paper +, Roofing +, Scourer +, Stuffing +, Thatching +, Tinder +, Wick + and Wood +
Has mature height60 +
Has mature width12 +
Has medicinal partUnknown part +
Has medicinal useAbortifacient +, Analgesic +, Antidandruff +, Antirheumatic +, Astringent +, Emmenagogue +, Febrifuge +, Kidney +, Odontalgic +, Pectoral +, Poultice +, Skin +, Stomachic +, TB + and VD +
Has primary imageThuja plicata shoot.jpg +
Has search namethuja plicata + and x +
Has shade toleranceLight shade +
Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral +, Alkaline + and Very alkaline +
Has soil teclayture preferenceClay +
Has soil teheavy clayture preferenceHeavy clay +
Has soil teloamyture preferenceLoamy +
Has soil tesandyture preferenceSandy +
Has sun preferenceFull sun +
Has taxonomy nameThuja plicata +
Has water requirementshigh +
Inhabits ecosystem nicheCanopy +
Is deciduous or evergreenEvergreen +
Is herbaceous or woodyWoody +
Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
Tolerates maritime exposureYes +
Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
Tolerates windYes +
Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +