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Friday, July 11, 2014

Platycladus orientalis - Oriental Arborvitae

The Oriental Arborvitae species is a rare sight around here. The  most commonly planted examples are dwarf or variegated cultivars.  This evergreen large shrub or small tree grows 15-25' tall and about 15' wide. They form a rounded to spreading habit and usually an open canopy. Its an old school conifer going by several botanical names, most commonly included in the genus Thuja.

Leaves are evergreen, scale-like, very small, lighter green in color. Notice the way the leaves on the sides of the branchlets wrap around the stem, and the leaf base runs down the stem. The smaller darker areas on the ends of the stems are male cones.

The leaves are held in vertical flattened sprays, which is very characteristic. This happens to be a variegated cultivar.

Being a conifer, they produce male and female cones. These are young females. Plants are monoecious, having both male and female on the same plant.

Mature female cones are about 3/4" long, with long recurved hooks on the scales.

Bark is fibrous peeling off in long narrow strips. Light brown to tan color.

You are much more likely to encounter dwarf and or variegated cultivars. There are lots of them around.

Here is a dwarf green one.

Here is a variegated cultivar.

Here is a nice hedge on 38th and Flora.

and another needing some help on Oceanview.

Aptos - Seacliff
619 Seacliff Dr (Golden cultivar)

Santa Cruz -
705 Walnut Ave.
304 Caledonia St.
Santa Cruz High School - in front of the Main Building, not on Walnut but the other front.

Santa Cruz - Pleasure Point
3230 Hawes Dr.

2800 Porter, just in the vacant lot towards Soquel Dr. by far the largest one I have seen locally.

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