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TREES & plants

Atlantic white-cedar

Needled foliage of Atlantic white-cedar.

Atlantic white-cedar is an attractive plant, but is not commonly found in landscapes.  It may be difficult to find in nurseries as well.  This tree requires moist to wet sites and is very intolerant of drought.

Botanical name: 
Chamaecyparis thyoides
All Common Names: 
Atlantic white-cedar, Swamp white-cedar, Southern white-cedar
Family (English): 
Cypress
Family (Botanic): 
Cupressaceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
Native Locale: 
  • North America
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
Size Range: 
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4, 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7, 
  • Zone 8, 
  • Zone 9
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil, 
  • Moist, well-drained soil, 
  • Wet soil
Season of Interest: 
  • Early winter, 
  • Mid winter, 
  • Late winter, 
  • Early spring, 
  • Mid spring, 
  • Late spring, 
  • Early summer, 
  • Mid summer, 
  • Late summer, 
  • Early fall, 
  • Mid fall, 
  • Late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
Shape or Form: 
  • Columnar, 
  • Narrow
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
More Information: 

Size and Form

40 to 60 feet high and 10-20 feet wide; nearly column-like in form.

Tree & Plant Care

Requires moist to wet acid soils.
Does poorly in drought and in windy sites.

Disease, pests, and problems

No serious problems.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to the eastern and southern United States.
Commonly found in wet or boggy conditions.

Bark color and texture 

The grayish bark is thin and slightly peeling, with a ridged and furrowed pattern.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

The evergreen needles are thin and pointed and sometimes confused with juniper and arborvitae.
Needles are green to blue-green.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Male and female flowers separate but on the same plant (monoecious), Inconspicuous.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Small, round cones about 1/4 inch long.
They are bluish gray maturing to brown.

Chamaecyparis thyoides or Atlantic white-cedar