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Atlantic White-cedar, A Common Tree in North America

Chamaecyparis thyoides, 100 Common Trees in North America

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Atlantic white-cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides), also called southern white-cedar, white-cedar, and swamp-cedar, is found most frequently in small dense stands in fresh water swamps and bogs. Heavy cutting for many commercial uses during this century has considerably reduced even the largest stands so that the total volume of this species growing stock is not currently known. It is still considered a commercially important single species in the major supply areas of North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Florida.

Images of Atlantic White-cedar

Forestryimages.org provides several images of parts of Atlantic white-cedar. The tree is a conifer and the lineal taxonomy is Pinopsida > Pinales > Cupressaceae > Chamaecyparis thyoides. Chamaecyparis thyoides is commonly called Atlantic white-cedar, southern white-cedar, white cypress, swamp cedar.

The Range of Atlantic White-cedar

Atlantic white-cedar grows in a narrow coastal belt 80 to 210 km (50 to 130 miles) wide from southern Maine to northern Florida and west to southern Mississippi. Atlantic white-cedar forests, however, have always been of minor importance because the scarcity of suitable sites makes distribution of the species within the coastal belt exceedingly patchy. White-cedar is most important commercially in southeastern New Jersey, southeastern Virginia, eastern North Carolina, and northwestern Florida.

Atlantic White-cedar at Conifers.org

"Trees to 20 m tall and 80 cm dbh. Bark dark brownish red, less than 3 cm thick, irregularly furrowed and ridged. Branchlet sprays fan-shaped. Leaves of branchlets to 2 mm, apex acute to acuminate, bases of facial leaves often overlapped by apices of subtending facial leaves; glands usually present, circular. Pollen cones 2-4 mm, dark brown; pollen sacs yellow. Seed cones maturing and opening the first year, commonly somewhat irregular or asymmetrical, 4-9 mm broad, glaucous, bluish purple to reddish brown, not notably resinous; scales 6-8(10), each scale depressed and minutely mucronate, the apical pair of scales fused. Seeds 1-2 per scale, 2-3 mm, wing narrower than body."

Fire Effects on Atlantic White-cedar

Atlantic white-cedar is readily killed or damaged by fire, often by even low-intensity fires. Crown fires will generally kill the trees and can eliminate an entire stand. Large trees not killed outright usually die gradually, beginning at the top. Mature trees may occasionally survive low-intensity fires on wet sites in parts of the South.

Restoring Atlantic White-Cedar Swamps

Heavy cutting for many commercial uses during this century has considerably reduced even the largest stands of Atlantic white-cedar so that the total volume of this species growing stock is not currently known.
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