Arborvitae or White Cedar

Thuja occidentalis L.



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Family:  Cupressaceae

Native or Introduced to Illinois:  native 

Leaf:  Leaves are evergreen, scale-like and abruptly pointed, 2 mm long, opposite in alternating pairs (in 4 rows), bright green above and pale green below, sometimes becoming yellow-brown in winter, with a spicy fragrance when crushed.

Cones:  Seed cones are ellipsoid, (6-)9-14 mm long, brown; seeds ca. 8 per cone, 4-7 mm long, with lateral wings about as wide as the body. 

Bark/Twig:  Bark is gray to reddish-brown, 6-9 mm thick, fibrous, separated into flat, connected ridges. 

Size/Form/Shape: Native shrub or tree growing to 15 (-38) meters tall, the crown narrowly conic to broadly pyramidal, with spreading, densely crowded branches; branchlets flattened, in fan-shaped sprays.

County Distribution Map for Illinois:  


Sources for the Sullivan Middle School Tree Identification Guide were obtained though the use of the following sites: