Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Chamaecyparis thyoides

Atlantic white cedar

Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)

Chamaecyparis thyoides (Atlantic white cedar)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Evergreen, aromatic tree with narrow, pointed, spirelike crown and slender, horizontal branches. Atlantic white-cedar is a columnar, evergreen tree, 40-75 ft. high, (often taller in the wild), with short, ascending branches and blue-green, scale-like leaves on twigs spreading in a fan-like manner. At maturity, the trunk is devoid of branches for 3/4 of its length. Bark is ashy-gray to reddish-brown.

Ancient logs buried in swamps have been mined and found to be well preserved and suitable for lumber. Pioneers prized the durable wood for log cabins, including floors and shingles. During the Revolutionary War, the wood produced charcoal for gunpowder. One fine forest is preserved at Green Bank State Forest in southern New Jersey. As an ornamental, this species is the hardiest of its genus northward.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Bluish
Size Class: 36-72 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Green
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May


USA: AL , CT , DE , FL , GA , ME , MD , MA , MS , NH , NJ , NY , NC , PA , RI , SC , VA
Native Distribution: Coastal Plain from s. ME to FL & MS
Native Habitat: Swamps & bogs, chiefly on coastal plain but extending inland to scattered localities

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Moist, sandy soil.
Conditions Comments: This species thrives in a cool, moist atmosphere where it is protected from drying winds. It is relatively free of serious disease or insect problems and not susceptible to apple-cedar rust. It does not compete with hardwood species.

Last Update: 2015-11-16