Interesting Information About Plant:  

Arborvitae was the first tree from North America to be introduced to Europe when French explorers brought the tree to Paris.  The tree became a valuable asset when, on one of Jacques Cartier’s long sea voyages in 1536, it was discovered that a tea made from the bark and leaves cured scurvy.  In 1558, the tree appropriately received the name “arborvitae,” meaning “tree of life” in Latin. The oil from these trees is still used today for medicinal purposes. While traditionally the soft wood was used for canoe frames and starting fires, today it is used as lumber, especially for poles, posts and cross-ties.  In North America, the Oriental arborvitae is mainly used in landscaping. Many varieties of shape are available, and the tree can even be maintained as a hedge (with persistent trimming).  During New Year’s celebrations in China, the aromatic branches are used as good luck charms.


Common Name(s): Oriental Arbrovitae, Chinese Arbrovitae

Scientific Name: Thuja orientalis

Family Name (Scientific and Common): Cupressaceae   (Cypress)

Continent of Origin:  Asia                                            

Plant Growth Habit: Tree

Height at Maturity:  More than 10 Feet

Life Span:  Perennial

Seasonal Habit: Evergreen Perennial

Growth Habitat: Full Sun  or  Partial Sun

Manner of Culture:  Landscape Tree

Thorns on Younger Stem:  No

Cross Section of Younger Stem: Roundish

Stem (or Trunk) Diameter: Between The Diameter of a Broom-Handle and a Coffee-Mug

Produces Brownish Bark: Yes

Bark Peeling in Many Areas:  No

Characteristics of Mature (Brownish) Bark: Lines Go Up-Down / Bumpy

Type of Leaf: Scale-Like

Length of Leaf (or Leaflet): Less than Length of a Credit Card

Leaf Complexity: Simple

Edge of Leaf: Smooth

Leaf Arrangement: Opposite

Leaf has Petiole: No

Patterns of Main-Veins on Leaf (or Leaflet): Parallel

Leaf Hairiness: No Hairs

Color of Foliage in Summer: Green

Change in Color of Foliage in October: No Change

Flowering Season: Spring

Flowers: Single

Type of Flower: Like a Pine Cone

Color of Flower: Brown

Shape of Individual Flower: Radially Symmetrical

Size of Individual Flower: Smaller than a Quarter

Sexuality: Male and Female on Same Plant

Size of Fruit:  No Fruit

Fruit Fleshiness: No Fruit

Shape of Fruit:  No Fruit

Color of Fruit at Maturity:  No Fruit

Fruit Desirable to Birds or Squirrels: No Fruit

Louisville Plants That Are Most Easily Confused With This One: Juniper

Unique Morphological Features of Plant:   Leaves are scale like and lie on one plane

Poisonous:  None of Plant

Pestiness (weedy, hard to control):  No


Page prepared by:  Whitney Talbott                                     November 21, 2004