En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 23, 2007

From: Nebo, KY
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Flat leaf cedar, Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae)
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Hello, I am looking for the scientific name for what is commonly called flat leaf cedar. It has defined platelets, wonderful cedar smell, older trees have shaggy bark, in winter some of its sprays turn brown and drop, has small cones in clusters, sometimes used as tea, used by Native Americans, can grow quite tall, branches droop... Thank you very much.

ANSWER:

Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae) is the scientific name of the flat leaf cedar, and USDA Plants will show you an image. Interestingly, it is probably the first North American tree introduced into Europe, it was discovered by French explorers and grown in Paris about 1536. The year before, tea prepared from the foliage and bark, now known to be high in vitamin C, saved the crew of Jacques Cartier from scurvy. It was named arborvitae, Latin for "tree-of-life," in 1558. Click here and scroll down to find a recipe for flat cedar tea. More information about arborvitaes can be found at this website.

 

 

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of tall dry, stalk plant in Central Texas
January 19, 2011 - I'm trying to identify a plant from my childhood in Central Texas, as I'd like to evaluate its potential as a biofuel crop. It is a stalk-plant, growing quite tall, 7-8' on average, with knobbed...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
July 14, 2011 - What is the common purple flower found in fields that has a yellow flattened oval berry like pod after blooming? Leaves are grayish green. I am thinking in the nightshade family? It is a bane to a pas...
view the full question and answer

Control of Smilax bona-nox (saw greenbrier)
June 15, 2007 - We have some property near Round Mountain, Texas. Under and in the oak trees is a vine that has a heart-shaped, shiny leaf and nasty thorns. I'd like to know the name and how best to try to get rid...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 06, 2014 - I have a plant my kids got me, but I cant figure out what it is. It has long thick waxy leaves and instead of flowers the leaves at the top turn white. Do you know what it is?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification.
May 23, 2009 - Looking for the name of a green, bamboo-like plant with narrow leaves. Have no pictures.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center