Western Redcedars (Thuja plicata)
… are among North America’s largest trees. They can reach diameters of 10-13 ft (3-4 m) and heights of 213-230 ft (65-70 m), though they are still typically only one-third the volume of Giant Sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum).
Large individuals may be many centuries old. One in British Columbia was estimated at around 700 years old when it was destroyed by vandals; when it fell, it was so massive the impact effectively dug its own “grave”. Redcedars are reknowned for their timber.
They have high-quality wood with few knots, but what makes them especially appealing is Thujaplicin, a chemical that occurs naturally in mature trees and functions as a fungicide, preventing rot. The anti-fungal chemicals remain effective for up to a century after the tree is harvested.
Shown is the Kalaloch Redcedar of Olympic National Park in Washington, which was the third-largest known individual of the species until it was destroyed in a storm earlier this year.
photo by woodleywonderworks on Flickr
(via: Peterson Field Guides)