Thuja plicata.

Thuja plicata. Western red-cedar.

Thuja plicata, commonly known as the Western red-cedar, is a testament to the majesty of the Pacific Northwest’s ancient forests. Characterized by its tall, straight trunk and distinctive reddish-brown bark that peels away in long, fibrous strips, this evergreen conifer boasts scale-like, aromatic leaves that form flattened sprays and trim, elongated cones. Its wood, with a rich, warm hue and distinctive aroma, has been highly prized by indigenous communities for generations, being utilized for crafting totem poles, canoes, and ceremonial objects. At the same time, modern societies have embraced it for its rot-resistance and use in construction.

As an inhabitant of the moist coastal forests, Western red-cedar can grow to staggering heights, often reaching up to 200 feet or more. The tree’s unique, arching branches are clothed in dense, dark green foliage, providing a haven for birds and small mammals, while its roots intertwine with the life of the forest floor. This regal species serves as an emblem of enduring strength and beauty and plays a pivotal role in ecosystem dynamics, water regulation, and carbon sequestration.

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