Northern White Cedar is an amazing evergreen tree with a wide range of uses and a rich history. In its natural habitat it grows in cool, moist sites – near rivers and lakes – it prefers well-drained soil, but can also do well in swamps. When used in the landscape, it can be used as a specimen tree or a hedge. It can easily be pruned to your preferred look, or left to its natural pyramidal shape.
It’s thought that this species was actually the first American tree introduced to Europe back in the 1500’s by French explorers. Its alternate name, Tree of Life, comes from a story about how this tree saved the lives of explorer Jacques Cartier and his crew. They were able to prepare a tea from its foliage and bark which was high in vitamin C, protecting them from scurvy while on a voyage. Cedar oil is also highly regarded medicinally, having antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Northern White Cedar is a slow-growing but long-lived tree. Commonly reaching ages of 400 or more, they account for some of the oldest trees in North America, some being up to 1,600 years of age. It’s a lightweight, easily split wood, which was used for canoe frames by the first Americans.
Highly fragrant, beautiful, and teeming with history – you can’t go wrong with this truly iconic American tree.