Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Northern White Cedar - Thuja occidentalis   L.
Members of Cupressaceae:
Only member of Thuja in NC.
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Section 3 » Order Pinales » Family Cupressaceae
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DistributionAccording to Weakley (2018), allegedly occurred on cliffs or ledges in Alleghany, Ashe, and Burke counties. However, no specimens are known and no written records are convincing.

Native to Eastern North America, south to WV (native), VA (native), and TN (native).
AbundanceUncertain if present now, or even formerly. If so, it likely is/was not native south to NC. The NCNHP status was recently changed (2021) from an appropriate SE? (Exotic?) to a more generic SU (Undetermined). It could just as easily be ranked as SR (Reported) or SRF (Reported Falsely). The editors do not believe this species has a place on the NC flora as a native species, and ranking it here as SU would indeed put it on such a list.
HabitatStrongly calcareous soils -- limestone bluffs, rocky slopes, etc. -- usually in somewhat dry to mesic conditions. Such habitats are very rare in NC.
IdentificationThis tree is superficially similar to Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana), but the needles are blunt and rounded at the tip (vs. sharply tipped). It is also similar to Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides), but the female cones are ellipsoid and leathery textured (vs. globose and essentially woody).
Taxonomic Comments
Other Common Name(s)American Arborvitae
State RankSU [SE?]
Global RankG5
State StatusW3
US Status
USACE-agcpFACW link
USACE-empFACW link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorrieScenic State Park, MN. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
B.A. SorriePhoto taken June 2018, Scenic State Park, MN.
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