3 surprising things you didn't know about Western Redcedar!

Western Redcedar

Thuja plicata


A beautiful pyramid shaped evergreen, with aromatic green scaly foliage and red to gray bark that easily peels away from the trunk. Here in the PNW you can find a Western Redcedar happily growing anywhere, from lush forests and mountain sides to forested swamps and streambanks. 


There’s so much to love about the Western Redcedar - and here are 3 surprising facts you might not have known that will make you love this tree even more:

  1. Redcedar is the real-life Giving Tree

You can make furniture that will last for over a century and even make an herbal cold remedy. The wood is used for fencing, decking, canoes, totem poles, and tools, and the bark has also been useful for making rope, baskets, fishing nets, and traditional Salish hats. Also known as “Long Life Giver” and “Mother” by Salish coastal people, this tree is truly a jack of all trades. 


Puyalllup Tribe Council member David Bean wearing his cedar hat welcoming canoes to shore at the 2018 Power Paddle to Puyallup. Photo credit: Jennifer Squally

  1. Redcedar isn’t actually a cedar - and real cedar can be toxic 

There are actually two type of trees commonly called Redcedars. The Western Redcedar (Thuja plicata) and Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana), also known as aromatic Cedar. Caution- Eastern Red Cedar is actually quite toxic if ingested. Be sure to know the difference between the two trees if you’re planning to use for medicinal purposes. Here’s a great guide for telling the difference.  

  1. Western Redcedar is immortal! 

Well, almost. These trees have been known to live over 1,500 years

The Western Redcedar is a great riparian habitat tree. Their swooping branches and majestic qualities make them some of the most beautiful trees in the forest. There is a fantastic example of a Redcedar-dominated forest in Vancouver island BC near the Pacific Rim National Park area on the West Coast. This beautiful mashup of swamps and estuaries is well worth the visit. 

Unfortunately scenes like this in the U.S. are harder to find because the were destroyed by aggressive logging. That’s why it’s so important to plant as many of these beautiful trees as you can, so we can rebuild our County’s redcedar forests one tree at a time. Order yours today!

Click here to order your Redcedar today!

*Disclaimer: These plants have been used by people for food and medicine in different ways since time immemorial. Any ethnobotanical information presented here in respect to healthy living, recipes, nutrition, and diet and is intended for informational purposes only. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment nor is it to be construed as such. We cannot guarantee that the information provided by the Pierce Conservation District reflects the most up-to-date medical research. Information is provided without any representations or warranties of any kind. Please consult a qualified physician for medical advice, and always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding your health and nutrition program.