tree, up to 80 feet tall and 3 feet in diameter; has a broad, grooved
trunk that spreads out widely at the base. The crown is sharply cone-shaped,
with branches that spread out and droop, and have small, loosely hanging
The leave are scale-like,
dark, bluish-green, and slender with sharp points. Unlike western red cedar, the
leaves of the yellow-cedar are all alike, so that the leaf-covered twigs appear
four-sided rather than flat.
Cones are round,
1/4 to 1/2 inches in diameter, berry-like in the first year and becoming woody
as they mature. Mature cones have 4 to 6 thick umbrella-shaped scales.
On young trees,
the bark is thin, grayish-brown and scaly; on mature trees, it has narrow
intersecting ridges. The inside of the bark smells like potato skins.
Common west of the
Coast Mountains, plenty in Alaska and it rarely occurs in southeastern British
well on deep, slightly acidic, moist soils, usually as single trees, or in small
clumps. It is common in old-growth stands at low elevations especially in the
mid or north coastal regions, with western red cedar and western hemlock and
other plants such as salal and deer fern. It is most common at high elevations,
growing with mountain hemlock and amabilis fir.
The wood from
Yellow Cedar has always been highly prized because of its many superlative
qualities. Its distinctive and uniform yellow color is much admired. The narrow
band of sapwood is very similar in color to the heartwood. The wood is
exceptionally fine in texture and has an unusually straight grain. When green,
the wood has a pungent sulphur odor. One of the world's most durable timbers,
Yellow Cedar has excellent resistance to decay, insect attack and marine borers,
a property that contributes to its exceptional long life. It is a relatively
hard wood, considerably harder than most commercial softwoods, and has excellent
strength and wear properties as well as good impact resistance.
along the coast used yellow-cedar extensively. They used the wood for paddles,
masks, dishes, and bows and wove the bark to make clothing and blankets. Yellow
cedar presently are also used for making outdoor furniture and garden products,
The wood is very
valuable commercially because of its dense structure, straight grain, yellow color, and
resistance to decay. It is used extensively for boat building.
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