Contrary to its name, the American Arborvitae is actually more prevalent in eastern and central Canada, and is only commonly found in the US in Northern Illinois, Ohio, and New York as well as scattered populations further south. In St. Louis they are very close to the southern extreme of their range, and so generally benefit from being in a slightly more shady location than they would prefer in their more northern ranges.
The tree is in the cypress family, and is also referred to as Eastern or Northern White Cedar. The name Arborvitae, meaning tree of life, was given to the tree by early French settlers to North America upon learning from the Native Americans that the tree’s foliage could be used to treat scurvy.
|Latin Name||Thuga occidentalis
|Color of Leaf||Yellow-green to green|
|Shape of Leaf||Scale like, aromatic, appears in flattened sprays|
|Color of Flower||N/A|
|Shape of Flower||N/A|
|Bark Characteristics||Red-brown bark will exfoliate on mature branches and trunk|