En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Flat leaf cedar, Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae)

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

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

Plant identification
July 19, 2013 - My nephew bought an old farmhouse in Southeast Texas. There is a plant there that has glossy leaves similar to a lemon leaf. I cannot tell from the pic if it is a shrub or a vine. It is blooming now, ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of orange flowering tree in West Virginia
May 21, 2008 - I was wondering if you might have any suggestions as to what small tree-like plant I saw over the last two weeks (mid May) in West Virginia, in the woods, in the mountains. With honeysuckle-like leav...
view the full question and answer

Submitting photos to assist with an ID
April 17, 2013 - How do I submit images to assist with an ID?
view the full question and answer

Locating Rhododendron calendulaceum
April 26, 2008 - Trying to locate Rhododendron calendulaceum
view the full question and answer

Fragrant night blooming plant
June 09, 2009 - My Grandmother use to have a night fragrant night blooming plant that she referred to as "baby Jesus being born" when it bloomed. Are you familiar with anything of this nature?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center