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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thuja plicata - Western Red Cedar

Spectacular native tree, very conical shape, dark green and full if grown in full sun, thinner and more open if shaded. Moderate grower from 50-100' x 40' wide with a large tapering trunk. In its native habit it can reach 200+ feet tall. Lateral branches arching upwards while the secondary branches are weeping. May have branches to the ground if given enough sun. This one is from the Arboretum at UCSC. The Western Red Cedar is native to mostly coastal parts of far northern CA and the western Sierra Mts. They are not very common in our area.



These two to the right of the telephone pole are on Clubhouse Dr.



Leaves are small, scale-like and in pairs covering the young stems. The branchlets are long and feather like in arrangement with short narrow lateral branches coming off of the main branches. The lower surface of the branchlets shows bands of white stomates. There is a resin gland on the facial leaves, this is really small but you can see it in the second picture.




Lower surface of the foliage, showing the area where the stomates are located.



Female cones are small, bore erect on the ends of short shots. They are brown when mature and have several scales, the tips of each have a very small reflexed point.


The bark on very young stems is green, becoming brown within a year or two and eventually gray colored. They will develop a fibrous bark after many years.

Misidentification: Conifers with scale-like leaves can always be difficult to properly identify. Leaves have a pineapple smell when crushed, they are borne in long flat narrow sprays and the leaves have small white areas on the back. Representatives of this genus are not very common around here, so that might help.

Locations:
Aptos
Corner of Club House Dr and Murray Ave. in RDM. At this house you can also see a very large Sequoiadendron gigantea, 2 Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, Cedrus atlantica glauca and a Cornus capitata, and a small Abies grandis, Across the street you will see Sciadoptys verticillata and Pinus wallichiana. Around the corner on RDM Blvd you can see a nice Calocedrus decurrens and down the road toward the highway you can see a large Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata'.

Across the street from 217 Mar Vista Drive in Seacliff just over the fence in the trailer park.

Santa Cruz
216 Marnell Ave
There is one at the Arboretum at UCSC as well.

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