Cedars have small, scalelike leaves that cover flat, spray-like branches. Oval cones are 1-2 cm long. Bracts (modified leaves) and scales (ovule-bearing structures) are fused. Pollination occurs in spring; seeds (small, with 2 lateral wings) are shed in the fall. The wood is soft, light, aromatic and decay-resistant. Aboriginal people of the West Coast used cedar for totem poles, canoes and lodges. It is thought that the tea made from the leaves and bark of the Eastern white cedar was the cure for SCURVY that ravaged Jacques Cartier's crew in the winter of 1535-36, (see also NATIVE USES OF PLANTS). It is for this reason Thuja species received the nickname arbor vitae.
Author JOHN N. OWENS
Links to Other Sites
The Plant List
Search this online database for information about one million plant species from around the world. Also, click on "major plant groups" at the bottom of the page to browse descriptions of species of interest. Fungi and algae are excluded. From the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in the UK and the Missouri Botanical Garden in the US.
The Ecological Framework of Canada
This site describes Canada's ecozones and the general concepts of ecological classification. Based on data developed by Environment Canada.
Scurvy and Canadian Exploration
An article about various historical remedies for the prevention and treatment of scurvy and the impact of scurvy on various exploratory expeditions in North America. From the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History (Wilfrid Laurier University Press).
Flora of North America
The FNA website features information on the names, taxonomic relationships, continent-wide distributions, and morphological characteristics of all plants native and naturalized found in North America north of Mexico.