What are the characteristics of arborvitae? Information about the features, cultivation, types of arborvitae.
ARBORVITAE, is the common name of several aromatic, resinous, evergreen trees found in North America and eastern Asia. The trees are identified by their scaly bark and their pyramidal shape.
The arborvitae are members of the pine family, Pinaceae, and belong to the genus Thuja. There are six species, five of which are cultivated. Thuja occidentalis is the species native to northeastern North America. A slow grower, it is a conical tree that reaches a height of over 60 feet (18 meters). It has scalelike, overlapping leaves that lie flat against the twigs, and thin scaly bark that falls off in ragged strips on the older trunks. The cones are narrow, egg-shaped, and four to six inches (10 to 15 cm) long, with thin leathery scales. A second American species, T. plicata, is native to the Pacific Northwest. It is a large tree that reaches a height of 200 feet (10 meters). It has a stout trunk and short, horizontally spreading branches. Its soft, coarsegrained, but durable wood is used in construction and cabinetmaking and, formerly, by the Indians for canoes and totem poles.
The Chinese species, T. orientalis, includes many garden varieties. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental tree in the United States. This species has a pyramid or bushy shape. Extracts of the young twigs have been used for medicinal purposes. Two other cultivated species are T. standishii, a tree that grows to a height of 50 feet (15 meters) and is found in Japan, and T. kordiensis, which grows to a height of 26 feet (7.8 meters) and is found in Korea.