Also known as Nootka cypress, Nootka cedar, yellow cypress, Alaska cypress, Alaska cedar, and Alaska yellow cedar, this is not a true cedar (this is why a hyphen is used). The yellow-cedar grows to be 24 metres tall, with a large grooved trunk that spreads at the base. Its needles are scaly and hang on small droopy branches. The wood has a distinctive smell and is resistant to decay. Its leaves are prickly and they can be dark green to yellowy-green.
RANGE & HABITAT
The yellow-cedar is found west of the Coast Mountains and on islands on the northern Pacific coast. In B.C., the yellow-cedar grows in the Coast and Mountains and Georgia Lowlands ecoprovinces.
The wood is rot-resistant and these cedars live for hundreds of years. The young cedars sprout in damp rich earth and old trees.
Animals, especially bears, den in the hollowed out trunks of old cedar trees.
TRADITIONAL FIRST NATIONS USES
First Nations used yellow-cedar wood to make masks, paddles, and dishes, and the bark of the tree was used for clothing and blankets.
The yellow-cedar is used for boat building.
COSEWIC: Not at Risk
Photo: Walter Seigmund