Western Redcedar – Native Plant Spotlight

Western Redcedar (Thuja plicata)

Scaled leaves and deeply grooved bark captivate audiences and make the Western redcedar a popular and beloved tree in the West. In its lifespan of 200-300 years, while reaching heights of 200 ft and potentially a width of 30 ft, this conifer is an essential food source for elk and deer populations and provides shelter and habitat for many animals. The Western redcedar boasts its grandeur throughout its Pacific coast range, from California to Alaska and as far east as Montana.

It is regarded as the ‘tree of life’ among Native American tribes for its many useful, healing, and spiritual properties. Traditionally, the wood was used for shelters, canoes, and firewood. Its inner bark was used to weave baskets and could also be compacted to make a fiber for clothing. These uses have expanded to include shingles, siding, and furniture. The leaves are also a popular commodity used to make scented soaps, perfumes, and lotions.

This hearty tree is resistant to pests and decay and performs best in wet, shady areas.

Pre-order Western Redcedar from KCD’s Native Plant Sale now.

Rosie McGoldrick, 2020-2022 AmeriCorps Education & Events Specialist

WSU Clark County Extension: Western Redcedar 
UW Bothell Wetland Plants: Western Redcedar
Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast, by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon, 2004

Featured Photo Credit: Krzysztof Ziarnek- Own Work, BY SA 4.0

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