Foliage of Eastern Whitecedar or American Arborvitae in album plants

In Albums:trees plants

Foliage of an eastern whitecedar, showing foliage made up of flat scales rather than needles

Jul 9th, 2011, by Alex Zorach

This photo shows the foliage of an eastern whitecedar, also called an American arborvitae, scientific name Thuja occidentalis. This plant is a widespread landscape plant. It is native to the northeastern part of North America. It tends to be a relatively small tree, although it often grows somewhat larger than the eastern redcedar, which is in the same family but a different genus.

This tree prefers wet conditions, and naturally grows in swampy areas, in contrast to the redcedar which can thrive in drier conditions and grows naturally on exposed or disturbed ground. Also quite different from the redcedar, the whitecedar is generally a long-lived tree. It is also considerably more shade-tolerant than the whitecedar, and will retain lush foliage like that pictured here in much lower-light conditions. Under certain circumstances, rarely, it will have a needle-like growth like most coniferous trees, but it usually grows the flat foliage made of overlapping scales like pictured here.

This particular photo was taken in a garden near Bryn Athyn, PA.