CITESwoodID: descriptions, illustrations, identification and information retrieval

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H. G. Richter, K. Gembruch, G. Koch

Thuja plicata Donn. ex D. Don (Western Red Cedar)

Nomenclature. Family: CUPRESSACEAE. Other trade relevant species: Thuja occidentalis (Eastern white cedar). Further trade and local names: Riesenlebensbaum, Rotzeder (DE); giant cedar, canoecedar, redcedar, shinglewood, abor vitae (US). Code according to DIN EN 13556: THPL. Internal code: WRC.

CITES(EU) status of protection. Not protected.

Geographic distribution. North America. Western North America, from Alaska south to California, eastwards into Montana.

Growth rings, colour, grain, etc. Growth ring boundaries distinct (due to pronounced colour differences between earlywood and latewood); transition from earlywood to latewood gradual. Heartwood basically brown (often with a yellowish or violet hue). Sapwood distinct from heartwood colour (narrow). Sapwood usually dingy white with light shades of brown intermingled; heartwood yellowish-brown to dark brown with a purplish or reddish tinge, locally with dark colour stripes; wood darkening slightly under prolonged exposure. The prominent latewood zones produce a decorative figure on tangential (V-shaped markings) and radial (fine striping) faces. Odour distinct (aromatic spicy like oil of cedar). Wood light weight and soft (0,33–0,46 g/cm3). Interlocked grain absent.

Hardwood vs softwood. Vessels (pores) absent (= softwood).

Rays. Rays narrow. Large rays commonly less than 1 mm high.

Resin canals. Normal resin canals absent.

Physical and chemical tests. Heartwood not fluorescent. Water extract not fluorescent; yellow. Ethanol extract not fluorescent; colourless to brown (orange brown). Froth test weak positive. Splinter burns to partial ash; colour of ash white to grey.

Additional information. Informationsdienst Holz Merkblatt Nr. 40. • wrc.jpg. Thuja plicata (Western Red Cedar). Radial surface, natural size. Transverse section ca. 10x.


The interactive key allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, and geographical distribution.

Cite this publication as: ‘Richter, H.G., Gembruch, K., and Koch, G. 2014 onwards. CITESwoodID: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, and Spanish. Version: 16th May 2014. delta-intkey.com’.

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