Western Red Cedar Trees, BC Coastal Region
The western red cedar is a large tree, up to 60 meters tall when mature, with long drooping branches and a trunk that often spreads out widely at the base. The needles are in 4 rows overlapping and arranged in flat sprays, looking like shingles.
The bark is a brownish grey and tearing off in long strips on mature trees. The cones are oval shaped and 1 cm longs. These cedar trees have a very pleasant aroma.
It grows at low to mid elevations along the pacific coast and all of Vancouver Island. The red cedar grows best in moist to wet soils, with lots of nutrients. It is tolerant of shade and can live for more than 1000 years. The red cedar frequently grows along side western hemlock and douglas fir. On the north coast, it also grows with amabilas fir and spruces.
The western red cedar has great spiritual significance to the coastal people who used all parts of the tree.