Thuja plicata Donn ex D. Don
western redcedar (western red cedar)
Cupressaceae (Cypress family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Bryan Kelly-McArthur     (Photo ID #70299)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Thuja plicata
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend


This is an evergreen coniferous tree species that is common in British Columbia

Species Information

Large tree, up to about 60 m tall; mature trees generally fluted and buttressed at the base; branches tend to spread, or droop slightly and then upturn; the branchlets spray-like, strongly flattened horizontally; bark ridged and fissured, readily tearing off in long thin strips; wood aromatic; growing 'tip' (leader) drooping.
Scalelike, somewhat overlapping, closely pressed to stem, in opposite pairs; glossy yellowish-green, turning brown and shedding with age.
Seed cones green when immature, brown, egg-shaped, and 8-10 mm long when mature; pollen cones minute and reddish, numerous.
This is the provincial tree of BC.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

Blooming Period:
Mid Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA


Ecological Framework for Thuja plicata

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
718 0 2750
Slope Gradient (%)
25 0 410

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

256 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 0 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

CDF(258), CWH(3985), ESSF(620), ICH(5032), IDF(474), MH(36), MS(144), PP(9), SBS(89)

Habitat and Range

Wet to moist floodplains, river terraces and slopes, often rich with nutrients from seepage or fluvial deposits, or rich parent material, in the lowland and montane zones; common along the coast and SC to SE BC, locally frequent in C BC; N to SE AK and S to N CA, N WA, ID and MT

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia