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Overview

Brief Summary

Cupressaceae -- Cypress family

    Silas Little and Peter W. Garrett

    Atlantic white-cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides), also called  southern white-cedar, white-cedar, and swamp-cedar, is found most  frequently in small dense stands in fresh water swamps and bogs. Heavy  cutting for many commercial uses during this century has considerably  reduced even the largest stands so that the total volume of this species  growing stock is not currently known. It is still considered a  commercially important single species in the major supply areas of North  and South Carolina, Virginia, and Florida.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Silas Little

Source: Silvics of North America

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Comprehensive Description

Description

General: Cypress family (Cupressaceae). Native evergreen trees growing to 20 (-28) meters tall; trunks to 0.8 (-1.5) meters in diameter. Bark: reddish-brown, irregularly furrowed and ridged, peeling in long, fibrous strips, often partially twisted around the trunk. Branchlets are terete or rhombic in cross-section, in fan-shaped sprays, covered with dark blue-green, overlapping scale leaves to 2 mm long; facial and lateral leaves similar, usually with circular leaf glands. Seed cones are globose, 4-9 mm broad, bluish-purple to reddish-brown at maturity, with a somewhat crumpled appearance; scales 5-7. Native. The common name reflects its occurrence on the Atlantic coastal plain and its light-colored wood.

Variation within the species: populations of Atlantic white-cedar in Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi have been segregated as Chamaecyparis henryae Li (= C. thyoides var. henryae (Li) Little), based on differences in bark, branchlets, leaves, and fruit, but the species also is variable in the Atlantic coastal segment of its range and the Gulf coast segregate has not generally been accepted.

Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) can be distinguished from Atlantic white-cedar by its flattened branchlets with clearly differentiated facial and lateral leaves and its ellipsoid seed cones.

Distribution: Atlantic white-cedar grows in a narrow coastal belt 80 to 210 km (50 to 130 miles) wide from southern Maine to northern Florida and west to southern Mississippi. The scarcity of suitable growing sites makes distribution of the species within the coastal belt very patchy. The species is now classified as rare in Georgia, Mississippi, Maine, Maryland, New York, New Hampshire, and Maine.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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More info for the terms: relict, swamp

Atlantic white-cedar grows in a narrow belt along the Atlantic and Gulf
coasts from southern Maine to northern Florida westward to southern
Mississippi [23,25]. It occurs no farther than 50 to 130 miles (80-210
km) inland [25]. Vast stands occur in the Great Dismal Swamp of
Virginia and eastern North Carolina. Small isolated stands are more
typical in much of New Jersey, Georgia, and eastern Florida, but stands
are infrequent in Delaware and Maryland. The species is uncommon in
South Carolina but becomes more frequent in the Florida Panhandle and in
southern Alabama [46]. At the western edge of its range in southern
Mississippi, Atlantic white-cedar grow in scattered relict stands [46].
  • 23. Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agric. Handb. 541. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 375 p. [2952]
  • 25. Little, Silas; Garrett, Peter W. 1990. Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P. Atlantic white-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 103-108. [13374]
  • 46. Ward, Daniel B. 1989. Commercial utilization of Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides, Cupressaceae). Economic Botany. 43(3): 386-415. [9674]

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Occurrence in North America

AL CT DE FL GA LA ME MD MA MS
NH NJ NY NC RI SC VA

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Atlantic white-cedar grows in a narrow coastal belt 80 to 210 km (50 to  130 miles) wide from southern Maine to northern Florida and west to  southern Mississippi. Atlantic white-cedar forests, however, have always  been of minor importance because the scarcity of suitable sites makes  distribution of the species within the coastal belt exceedingly patchy.  White-cedar is most important commercially in southeastern New Jersey,  southeastern Virginia, eastern North Carolina, and northwestern Florida  (1,3,8,9,11).

     
- The native range of Atlantic white-cedar.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Silas Little

Source: Silvics of North America

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Ala., Conn., Del., Fla., Ga., Maine, Md., Mass., Miss., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Pa., R.I., S.C., Va.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

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Adaptation

Atlantic white-cedar is found most frequently in small dense stands in fresh water swamps and bogs, sometimes on sandy soils, but usually on acidic muck (peat). The species is absent or uncommon in areas where muck is underlain by clay or contains appreciable amounts of silt or clay. Habitats in southeastern New Jersey range from about 1 meter elevation, where the trees border the tidal marsh, to 43 meters in some inland stands. The species currently grows in at least one upland bog in northern New Jersey at an elevation of 457 meters.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Trees to 20(--28) m; trunk to 0.8(--1.5) m diam. Bark dark brownish red, less than 3 cm thick, irregularly furrowed and ridged. Branchlet sprays fan-shaped. Leaves of branchlets to 2 mm, apex acute to acuminate, bases of facial leaves often overlapped by apices of subtending facial leaves; glands usually present, circular. Pollen cones 2--4 mm, dark brown; pollen sacs yellow. Seed cones maturing and opening the first year, 4--9 mm broad, glaucous, bluish purple to reddish brown, not notably resinous; scales 5--7. Seeds 1--2 per scale, 2--3 mm, wing narrower than body.
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Description

More info for the terms: monoecious, peat

Atlantic white-cedar is a small to medium-sized, columnar evergreen tree
which commonly reaches 40 to 60 feet (12-18 m) in height and 36 inches
(1 m) d.b.h. [16,25,40,45]. Individuals may occasionally reach 120 feet
(37 m) in height and 60 inches (152 cm) in diameter [25]. Plants are
long-lived and can reach 1,000 years of age. However, stands rarely
survive more than 200 years [25].

The fibrous bark is narrowly fissured by long, flat, platelike ridges
[15,37]. Scalelike leaves are opposite and average 0.06 to 0.13 inch
(1.5-3.3 mm) in length [8,36]. Atlantic white-cedar is shallow-rooted
[25]. On many swampy sites, roots are confined to the top 1 to 2 feet
(0.3-0.6 m) of peat, but on sites with lower water levels, roots may
extend considerably deeper [25].

Atlantic white-cedar is monoecious, with staminate and pistillate cones
occurring on separate shoots [25]. Small, inconspicuous yellow or
reddish staminate flowers are borne singly at the tips of short
branchlets [15,16]. Each cone contains 5 to 15 small, rounded,
laterally winged seeds [15,25].
  • 40. Seymour, Frank Conkling. 1982. The flora of New England. 2d ed. Phytologia Memoirs 5. Plainfield, NJ: Harold N. Moldenke and Alma L. Moldenke. 611 p. [7604]
  • 45. Van Dersal, William R. 1938. Native woody plants of the United States, their erosion-control and wildlife values. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 362 p. [4240]
  • 15. Godfrey, Robert K. 1988. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of northern Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 734 p. [10239]
  • 8. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1987. The Smithsonian guide to seaside plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from Louisiana to Massachusetts, exclusive of lower peninsular Florida. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. 409 p. [12906]
  • 16. Harris, A. S. 1974. Chamaecyparis Spach white-cedar. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 316-320. [7586]
  • 25. Little, Silas; Garrett, Peter W. 1990. Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P. Atlantic white-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 103-108. [13374]
  • 36. Preston, Richard J., Jr. 1948. North American trees. Ames, IA: The Iowa State College Press. 371 p. [1913]
  • 37. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606]

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Physical Description

Tree, Evergreen, Monoecious, Habit erect, Trees without or rarely having knees, Tree with bark rough or scaly, Young shoots in flat sprays, Buds not resinous, Leaves scale-like, Leaves opposite, Non-needle-like leaf margins entire, Leaf apex acute, Leaves < 5 cm long, Leaves < 10 cm long, Leaves not blue-green, Scale leaves without raised glands, Scale leaf glands not ruptured, Scale leaves overlapping, Twigs glabrous, Twigs not viscid, Twigs without peg-like projections or large fascicles after needles fall, Berry-like cones orange, Woody seed cones < 5 cm long, Bracts of seed cone included, Seeds tan, Seeds brown, Seeds winged, Seeds equally winged, Seed wings prominent, Seed wings narrower than body.
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Stephen C. Meyers

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Description

Trees to 20(-28) m tall; trunk to 0.8(-1.5) m d.b.h.; bark dark reddish brown, irregularly furrowed and ridged; leafy branchlets fan-shaped. Leaves to 2 mm, usually with circular abaxial gland, apex acute to acuminate; leaves on lower side of branchlets not or only slightly glaucous. Pollen cones dark brown, 2-4 mm; pollen sacs yellow. Seed cones bluish purple to reddish brown, glaucous, globose, 4-9 mm in diam.; cone scales 5-7, fertile scales each with 1 or 2 seeds. Seeds 2-3 mm; wing narrower than seed.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Cupressus thyoides Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1003. 1753.
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Synonym

Cupressus thyoides Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1003. 1753; Chamaecyparis henryae Li H. L.; C. thyoides subsp. henryae (Li H. L.) E. Murray; C. thyoides var. henryae (Li H. L.) Little
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Chamaecyparis thyoides usually grows in more or less pure stands in bogs and swamps and along streamside corridors of lowland rivers surrounded by other tree species, which form the main forest types of the region where it occurs (occurs between sea level and 450 m asl). Due to its great latitudinal range it is associated with different species from north to south. The majority of these are angiosperms, which also occupy the greater total area, associated conifers are mainly Pinus spp. and Taxodium distichum. The soil types under stands of C. thyoides are acid organic ('muck') or sandy, with the water table reaching the surface and prolonged seasonal periods of inundation. It avoids salinity although it is known to border tidal marshes in New Jersey. It is likely that recurring fire would historically have been the disturbance agent preventing Acer rubrum from eventually replacing C. thyoides in the succession. Apart from the species composition of the vegetation due to latitude, the ecology of the two varieties in this species is similar.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Habitat characteristics

More info for the terms: peat, shrub, swamp

Atlantic white-cedar grows in bogs or swamps bordering mesotrophic
stagnant water, in swamp forests, bayheads, along stream channels,
behind stable dunes, and in moist depressions in pine flatwoods
[5,6,8,17,47]. In New England, it is often associated with glacial
kettles and outwash plains [41]. Atlantic white-cedar grows in sun but
is also somewhat shade tolerant [9,45]. It is able to persist despite
periodic flooding [1]. Plants can grow where standing water levels
reach 1 to 2 feet (0.3-0.6 m) during parts of the year and where sites
become partially desiccated during summer [34]. Atlantic white-cedar
occurs in pure and mixed stands [36].

In addition to those species listed under DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE,
common overstory associates include eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis),
larch (Larix laricina), black spruce (Picea mariana), black gum (Nyssa
sylvatica), gray birch (Betula populifolia), and red maple (Acer rubrum)
in the northern portion of Atlantic white-cedar's range [19,21,32];
eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), yellow birch (Betula
alleghaniensis), and eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) in some areas
[25]; and pond pine (Pinus serotina), red maple, sweetbay magnolia
(Magnolia virginiana), and white bay (Magnolia glauca) in Virginia and
North Carolina [12,19,22]. Farther south, Atlantic white-cedar grows
with loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus), titi (Cliftonia monophylla),
water gum, and white bay [12,19].

Understory associates: Atlantic white-cedar stands are often
characterized by a dense, tangled, nearly impenetrable undergrowth [19].
Sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia), swamp azalea (Rhododendron
viscosum), great rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum), highbush blueberry
(Vaccinium corymbosum), dangleberry (Gaylussacia frondosa), and
sweetbells leucothoe (Leucothoe racemosa) are common associates in the
northern portion of its range. Fetterbush lyonia (Lyonia lucida),
sweetbells leucothoe, highbush blueberry, pieris (Pieris nitida),
greenbrier (Smilax laurifolia), coast pepperbush (Cletha alnifolia),
redbay (Persea borbona), palmetto (Sabal palmetto), and sweet pepperbush
grow with Atlantic white-cedar in the South [4,25,49]. Lyonia (Lyonia
spp.), mountainlaurel (Kalmia spp.), titi (Cyrilla racemiflora), and
sweet pepperbush are common associates in shrub bogs [5].

Climate: Atlantic white-cedar grows under a warm, humid temperate to
subtropical climatic regime [5,25]. Annual precipitation averages 40 to
64 inches (102-163 cm) and temperatures range from winter lows of -36
degrees F (-38 degrees C) in Maine to 100 degrees F (38 degrees C)
during the summer in much of its range. Growing season ranges from 140
to more than 350 days [5,25].

Soils: Atlantic white-cedar is adapted to highly acidic soils that are
low in nutrients [41]. It typically grows on muck or peat but also
occurs on some sandy soils [25]. It is rare or absent where peat
contains significant amounts of silt or clay or where peat is underlain
by clay [25]. Atlantic white-cedar reportedly thrives on water-logged
organic soils [41]. Soils are generally acidic, with pH ranging from
3.5 to 5.5 [22].

Elevation: Atlantic white-cedar typically grows at low elevations along
the coast. Through most of the Northeast, it grows from sea level to
160 feet (50 m) [21] but can grow at elevations up to 1,500 feet (457 m)
in northern New Jersey [25].
  • 45. Van Dersal, William R. 1938. Native woody plants of the United States, their erosion-control and wildlife values. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 362 p. [4240]
  • 9. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 322 p. [12764]
  • 1. Bates, A. Leon; Pickard, Eugene; Dennis, Michael. 1979. Tree plantings - a diversified management tool for reservoir shorelines. In: Johnson, R. Roy; McCormick, J. Frank, technical coordinators. Strategies for protection and management of floodplain wetlands & other riparian ecosystems: Proc. of the symposium; 1978 December 11-13; Callaway Gardens, GA. Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-12. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 190-194. [4360]
  • 4. Buell, Murray F.; Cain, Robert L. 1943. The successional role of southern white cedar, Chamaecyparis thyoides, in southeastern North Carolina. Ecology. 24(1): 85-93. [14091]
  • 6. Damman, Antoni W. H.; French, Thomas W. 1987. The ecology of peat bogs of the glaciated northeastern United States: a community profile. Biological Report 85(7.16). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Research and Development, National Wetlands Research Center. 100 p. [9238]
  • 8. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1987. The Smithsonian guide to seaside plants of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts from Louisiana to Massachusetts, exclusive of lower peninsular Florida. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. 409 p. [12906]
  • 12. Garren, Kenneth H. 1943. Effects of fire on vegetation of the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 9: 617-654. [9517]
  • 17. Johnson, A. H.; Siccama, T. G.; Wang, D.; [and others]
  • 19. Korstian, C. F. 1924. Natural regeneration of southern white cedar. Ecology. 5: 188-191. [10344]
  • 21. Laderman, Aimlee D.; Golet, Francis C.; Sorrie, Bruce A.; Woolsey, Henry L. 1987. Atlantic white cedar in the glaciated Northeast. In: Laderman, Aimlee D., ed. Atlantic white cedar wetlands. [Place of publication unknown]
  • 22. Levy, Gerald F. 1987. Atlantic white cedar in the Great Dismal Swamp and the Carolinas. In: Laderman, Aimlee D., ed. Atlantic white cedar wetlands. [Place of publication unknown]
  • 25. Little, Silas; Garrett, Peter W. 1990. Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P. Atlantic white-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 103-108. [13374]
  • 32. Morgan, Mark D.; Good, Ralph E.; Spratt, H. G., Jr. 1988. Acidic deposition impacts mediated by sulfur cycling in a coastal plain forest ecosystem. GeoJournal. 17(2): 183-187. [12693]
  • 34. Penfound, William T. 1952. Southern swamps and marshes. The Botanical Review. 18: 413-446. [11477]
  • 36. Preston, Richard J., Jr. 1948. North American trees. Ames, IA: The Iowa State College Press. 371 p. [1913]
  • 41. Tangley, Laura. 1984. Taking stock of white cedar wetlands. BioScience. 34(11): 682-684. [8681]
  • 47. Ward, Daniel B.; Clewell, Andre F. 1989. Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) in the southern states. Florida Scientist. 51(1): 8-47. [14101]
  • 49. Dunn, William J.; Schwartz, L. N.; Best, G. R. 1987. Structure and water relations of the white cedar forests on north central Florida. In: Laderman, Aimlee D., ed. Atlantic white cedar wetlands. [Place of publication unknown]
  • 5. Christensen, Norman L. 1981. FIRE REGIMES in southeastern ecosystems. In: Mooney, H. A.; Bonnicksen, T. M.; Christensen, N. L.; [and others]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the term: swamp

Atlantic white-cedar grows as an overstory dominant in peaty swamps. It
is listed as a dominant or indicator in the following community type
(cts) classifications:

Area Classification Authority

VA general veg. cts Montague & Day 1980
southern U.S. swamp veg. cts Penfound 1952

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Habitat: Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

More info for the terms: hardwood, swamp

45 Pitch pine
85 Slash pine - hardwood
97 Atlantic white-cedar
101 Baldcypress
102 Baldcypress - tupelo
103 Water tupelo - swamp tupelo
104 Sweetbay - swamp tupelo - redbay

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Habitat: Ecosystem

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine
FRES14 Oak - pine
FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress

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Habitat: Plant Associations

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

K113 Southern floodplain forest
K114 Pocosin

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Soils and Topography

White-cedar grows on wet ground or in swamps, sometimes on sandy soils,  but usually on muck, formerly called peat. Soils include the orders of  Spodosols and Histosols. The muck ranges from a few centimeters to 12 m  (40 ft) in depth and is generally acid, with pH often between 3.5 and 5.5.  White-cedar is absent or uncommon in areas where muck is underlaid by clay  or contains appreciable amounts of silt or clay (6).

    As its range is restricted principally to coastal areas and to wet or  swampy ground, Atlantic white-cedar usually grows at low elevation. In  southeastern New Jersey these typically range from about 1 m (3 ft), where  white-cedars border the tidal marsh, to 43 m (140 ft) in some inland  stands. The species currently grows in at least one upland bog in northern  New Jersey at an elevation of 457 m (1,500 ft).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Silas Little

Source: Silvics of North America

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Climate

The climate throughout most of the range of white-cedar is classed as  humid but varies widely in other respects. Average annual precipitation is  1020 to 1630 mm (40 to 64 in) and is well distributed throughout the year.  The frost-free season is from 140 to 305 days. Temperature extremes range  from -38° C (-36° F) in Maine in winter to highs of over 38°  C (100° F) during the summer in most sections (6).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Silas Little

Source: Silvics of North America

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Bogs and swamps of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts (primarily Coastal Plain); 0--500m.
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Habitat & Distribution

Cultivated for ornament. Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Zhejiang [native to E United States]
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Dispersal

Establishment

Trees of Atlantic white-cedar in open stands start bearing seed at 4-5 years, although these seeds may be relatively low in viability; trees in dense stands begin cone production at 10-20 years. Fair to excellent seed crops are produced each year.

Germination occurs in a variety of light conditions, even in very low light intensity, but relatively open conditions are essential for good survival and growth of Atlantic white-cedar seedlings in competition with associates of shrubs and hardwoods (especially red maple, blackgum, sweetbay, and others). Establishment in nature usually occurs following disturbance of the canopy. Seedlings develop a very short taproot, and successful establishment requires not only adequate surface moisture for seed germination but also available moisture within reach of the shallow root systems. Suitable seedbeds include moist rotting wood, Sphagnum moss, muck, and moist mineral soil – these on hummocks where standing water is not present all year. Thick litter and slash are unfavorable for germination and establishment.

Increases in height slow after about 50 years and stop after 100 years; increases in diameter may continue at a relatively even rate up to 100 years. Stand age rarely exceeds 200 years, although some trees have apparently have reached 1000 years of age.

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Associations

Associated Forest Cover

Because Atlantic white-cedar grows characteristically in pure stands it  is found mostly in one forest cover type, Atlantic White-Cedar (Society of  American Foresters Type 97) (5), but is listed as an associate in six  other types: Pitch Pine (Type 45); Slash Pine-Hardwood (Type 85);  Baldcypress (Type 101); Water Tupelo-Swamp Tupelo (Type 103);  Baldcypress-Tupelo (Type 102); Sweetbay-Swamp Tupelo-Redbay (Type104).  Over its great latitudinal range, however, several other species of trees  have been found growing with it. These include red maple (Acer  rubrum), black gum (Nyssa sylvatica), yellow birch (Betula  alleghaniensis), eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), gray  birch (Betula populifolia), pond pine (Pinus serotina), eastern  hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), and loblolly-bay (Gordonia  lasianthus).

    Many non-arborescent plants also grow with white-cedar. In a study of  sixteen 0.04-hectare (0.1-acre) plots in southern New Jersey, the most  common species of 25 shrubs associated with it were sweet pepperbush (Clethra  alnifolia), swamp azalea (Rhododendron viscosum), highbush  blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), dangleberry (Gaylussacia  frondosa), and sweetbells leucothoe (Leucothoe racemosa). In a  North Carolina study, fetterbush lyonia (Lyonia lucida) was the  most common shrub, but sweetbells leucothoe, highbush blueberry, and sweet  pepperbush were also present (6).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Silas Little

Source: Silvics of North America

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Diseases and Parasites

Damaging Agents

Crown fires kill white-cedar. Composition of  the succeeding stand varies according to (1) the degree to which the  forest floor is burned, (2) the age of the burned stand and thus the  amount of viable seed stored in the forest floor, (3) the proximity to  other sources of white-cedar seed, and (4) the stocking of hardwoods and  shrubs in the understory. If fire burns deep enough to eliminate trees of  all kinds, a pond (or open bog) or a cover of leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne  calyculata) may result. If the hummocks remain above the water table,  a new stand of Atlantic white-cedar or hardwoods usually develops.

    White-cedar on typical swamp sites is shallow rooted and subject to  windthrow, especially in stands that have been opened by partial cuttings.  Wind, often aided by snow or ice, is beneficial to hardwood understory  development at times when white-cedar stands are gradually opened by the  periodic windthrow or breakage of scattered trees; but extensive wind  damage in one storm favors development of another white-cedar stand. Along  the coast, salt water brought in by storm tides kills stands of various  species, sometimes permitting a pure white-cedar stand (developing from  seeds stored in the forest floor) to follow one composed largely of  hardwoods (6).

    Few fungi attack Atlantic white-cedar, and damage is not usually  serious. Keithia chamaecyparissi and Lophodermium juniperinum  attack white-cedar foliage; Gymnosporangium ellisii sometimes  causes a broom-like development of branches; G. biseptatum occasionally  causes a spindle-shaped swelling of stems or branches. Roots may be  attacked by Armillaria mellea, Heterobasidion annosum, or Phaeolus  schweinitzii. The latter and Fomitopsis cajanderi may attack  heartwood, although the heartwood of Atlantic white-cedar is very  resistant to decay (7).

    White-cedar has no serious insect enemies, although larvae of the common  bagworm (Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis) may feed on its foliage.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Silas Little

Source: Silvics of North America

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: natural, peat, prescribed fire

Prescribed fire: Prescribed fire can be used to stimulate the
regeneration of Atlantic white-cedar and increase deer browse [28].
Slash fires can enhance germination of Atlantic white-cedar by clearing
the forest floor [19]. Competing hardwoods can also be reduced or
eliminated if peat is heated enough to kill underground regenerative
structures [11,19].

Fuels/flammability: Logging slash left in Atlantic white-cedar types is
highly flammable and sites often "burn to the waters edge" [19].

Wildlife: Deer can seriously damage or kill postfire regeneration [26].

Lightning: Ward and Clewell [47] reported that in mixed
hardwood-Atlantic white-cedar forests of the Gulf Region, lightning is
apparently the primary natural factor determining the upper age and size
limit of Atlantic white-cedar.
  • 11. Forman, Richard T. T.; Boerner, Ralph E. 1981. Fire frequency and the pine barrens of New Jersey. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 108(1): 34-50. [8645]
  • 19. Korstian, C. F. 1924. Natural regeneration of southern white cedar. Ecology. 5: 188-191. [10344]
  • 26. Little, Silas; Moorhead, George R.; Somes, Horace A. 1958. Forestry and deer in the Pine Region of New Jersey. Station Pap. No. 109. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 33 p. [11681]
  • 28. McKinley, Carol E.; Day, Frank P., Jr. 1979. Herb. prod. in cut-burned, uncut-burned & contl areas of a Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) BSP (Cupressaceae) stand in the Great Dismal Swamp. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 106(1): 20-28. [14089]
  • 47. Ward, Daniel B.; Clewell, Andre F. 1989. Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) in the southern states. Florida Scientist. 51(1): 8-47. [14101]

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: peat, presence

Atlantic white-cedar readily establishes on burned sites through seed
stored on-site in peat or transported from adjacent stands [5,24].
Germination is generally favored when surface peat is too wet to burn
[34]. Seeds often germinate in abundance and dense stands commonly
develop after a single fire [5,12,19]. Little and others [50] reported
the presence of 111,520 seedlings per acre (45,109/ha) 1 year after
fire, with numbers declining to 11,360 per acre (4,599/ha) by the second
year.
  • 12. Garren, Kenneth H. 1943. Effects of fire on vegetation of the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 9: 617-654. [9517]
  • 19. Korstian, C. F. 1924. Natural regeneration of southern white cedar. Ecology. 5: 188-191. [10344]
  • 24. Little, S. 1946. The effects of forest fires on the stand history of New Jersey's Pine Region. Forest Management Paper No. 2. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture,Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 43 p. [11619]
  • 34. Penfound, William T. 1952. Southern swamps and marshes. The Botanical Review. 18: 413-446. [11477]
  • 5. Christensen, Norman L. 1981. FIRE REGIMES in southeastern ecosystems. In: Mooney, H. A.; Bonnicksen, T. M.; Christensen, N. L.; [and others]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

More info for the terms: peat, swamp

Atlantic white-cedar is readily killed or damaged by fire [5,45], often
by even low-intensity fires [5]. Crown fires will generally kill the
trees [25,35] and can eliminate an entire stand [12,26]. Large trees
not killed outright usually die gradually, beginning at the top [35].
Mature trees may occasionally survive low-intensity fires on wet sites
in parts of the South [47]. On these sites, crown fires do not occur
"even under the impetus of strong winds and fires that have crowned in
adjacent associations" [47]. Seedlings, however, are readily killed by
these low-intensity fires [47].

Wet swampy stands dominated by Atlantic white-cedar often serve as
natural fire breaks, but trees at the edge are usually commonly killed
before the fire is stopped [24,35]. Korstian [19] observed that in a
portion of the Great Dismal Swamp, all Atlantic white-cedars were killed
by a fire which occurred when the swamp was "full of water." However,
dry-season burns are typically most damaging to young growth and buried
seeds [19]. Dry season burns often remove the upper layer of peat and
can eliminate all on-site seed [12,39].
  • 45. Van Dersal, William R. 1938. Native woody plants of the United States, their erosion-control and wildlife values. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 362 p. [4240]
  • 12. Garren, Kenneth H. 1943. Effects of fire on vegetation of the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 9: 617-654. [9517]
  • 19. Korstian, C. F. 1924. Natural regeneration of southern white cedar. Ecology. 5: 188-191. [10344]
  • 24. Little, S. 1946. The effects of forest fires on the stand history of New Jersey's Pine Region. Forest Management Paper No. 2. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture,Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 43 p. [11619]
  • 25. Little, Silas; Garrett, Peter W. 1990. Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P. Atlantic white-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 103-108. [13374]
  • 26. Little, Silas; Moorhead, George R.; Somes, Horace A. 1958. Forestry and deer in the Pine Region of New Jersey. Station Pap. No. 109. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 33 p. [11681]
  • 35. Pinchot, Gifford. 1899. A study of forest fires and wood production in southern New Jersey; appendix to annual report of the state geologist for 1898. Geological Survey of New Jersey. Trenton, NJ: MacCrellish & Quigley, Book and Job Printers, Opposite Post Office. 102 p. [8653]
  • 39. Roman, Charles T.; Good, Ralph E.; Little, Silas. 1987. Atlantic white cedar swamps of the New Jersey Pinelands. In: Laderman, Aimlee D., ed. Atlantic white cedar wetlands. [Place of publication unknown]
  • 47. Ward, Daniel B.; Clewell, Andre F. 1989. Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) in the southern states. Florida Scientist. 51(1): 8-47. [14101]
  • 5. Christensen, Norman L. 1981. FIRE REGIMES in southeastern ecosystems. In: Mooney, H. A.; Bonnicksen, T. M.; Christensen, N. L.; [and others]

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: fire suppression, natural, peat, shrub, swamp

Adult white-cedar trees are readily killed by fire, but successful
seedling establishment is largely dependent on fires of moderate
severity at relatively short intervals [43]. Seeds stored in the peaty
soils often germinate in abundance after fire if the upper peat layers
are not destroyed [4]. Atlantic white-cedar swamp forests in the
Southeast are typically produced by a low-frequency, moderate-severity
fire regime related to "marginally moist soil conditions" [5]. In many
areas, increased fire suppression has led to the decline of Atlantic
white-cedar by promoting the growth of competing hardwoods such as red
maple, white bay, and black gum [11].

Changes in natural fire cycles have contributed to the decline of
Atlantic white-cedar in some areas. In many southeastern swamps, water
tables have been lowered for silvicultural and agricultural purposes,
which has increased the likelihood of dry season fires [5]. Hardwood
forests of red maple, black gum, or water gum are often favored by
severe, dry season fires [4,19,34]. Atlantic white-cedar may persist
only on small hummocks of peat, near stumps, on moss-covered logs and on
rotten wood located above the general water level [19]. In North
Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, moderate fires which occur
during the dry season, or within a few years of a previous fire, often
generate stands of pond pine [12,19]. Farther south, moderate or
frequent fires often produce stands of slash pine [19,34]. As fire
frequencies increase, Atlantic white-cedar declines and stands may be
replaced by shrub bogs as the fire-sensitive plants are killed and the
seed banks depleted [5]. In the North, frequent fire tends to favor the
development of uniform stands of Atlantic white-cedar, but in the South,
mixed forests of white-cedar and hardwoods often develop [47].

In Florida and the Gulf Coast, wet seepage slopes burn infrequently
[47]. Swamps in which Atlantic white-cedar occurs as a dominant
generally only burn after long droughts which increase the flammability
of peat [11,35]. At other times, these swampy areas serve as natural
fire breaks. Fires rarely begin in swampy Atlantic white-cedar stands.

Fire is particularly important in the establishment and persistence of
Atlantic white-cedar forests. Atlantic white-cedar is often capable of
colonizing moist open sites, and wet season fires which occur after
relatively long fire-free intervals tend to produce pure cedar stands
[12].
  • 4. Buell, Murray F.; Cain, Robert L. 1943. The successional role of southern white cedar, Chamaecyparis thyoides, in southeastern North Carolina. Ecology. 24(1): 85-93. [14091]
  • 11. Forman, Richard T. T.; Boerner, Ralph E. 1981. Fire frequency and the pine barrens of New Jersey. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 108(1): 34-50. [8645]
  • 12. Garren, Kenneth H. 1943. Effects of fire on vegetation of the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 9: 617-654. [9517]
  • 19. Korstian, C. F. 1924. Natural regeneration of southern white cedar. Ecology. 5: 188-191. [10344]
  • 34. Penfound, William T. 1952. Southern swamps and marshes. The Botanical Review. 18: 413-446. [11477]
  • 35. Pinchot, Gifford. 1899. A study of forest fires and wood production in southern New Jersey; appendix to annual report of the state geologist for 1898. Geological Survey of New Jersey. Trenton, NJ: MacCrellish & Quigley, Book and Job Printers, Opposite Post Office. 102 p. [8653]
  • 43. Train, Elizabeth; Day, Frank P., Jr. 1982. Population age structures of tree species in four plant communities in the Great Dismal Swamp, Virginia. Castanea. 47(1): 1-16. [14090]
  • 47. Ward, Daniel B.; Clewell, Andre F. 1989. Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) in the southern states. Florida Scientist. 51(1): 8-47. [14101]
  • 5. Christensen, Norman L. 1981. FIRE REGIMES in southeastern ecosystems. In: Mooney, H. A.; Bonnicksen, T. M.; Christensen, N. L.; [and others]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: climax, hardwood, shrub, swamp, tree

Atlantic white-cedar is long-lived but is often considered a subclimax
species [10]. Paradoxically, although some form of disturbance is
generally necessary for establishment, disturbance can lead to
conversion to hardwood types [39]. Even-aged stands of Atlantic
white-cedar often develop in response to fire, flooding, clearcutting,
or windthrow [10]. This tree is described as "intermediate in tolerance
to shade" and is unable to grow through dense shrub thickets or a
hardwood overstory [25]. In many areas, Atlantic white-cedar forests
are successional to evergreen bay forests when fire is excluded [4,5].
In the Great Dismal Swamp of Virginia and North Carolina, stands are
often replaced by red maple and black gum [30]; elsewhere in the South,
Atlantic white-cedar forests are replaced by climax stands of swamp red
bay (Tamala pubescens), white bay, and titi [34] or by sweetbay
magnolia, holly (Ilex myrtifolia), titi, and red bay (Persea pubescens)
in the absence of fire [4].

Once eliminated from a stand, Atlantic white-cedar will not regain
prominence until fire or other disturbance removes competing hardwoods
and creates a favorable seedbed. Plants reestablish by wind-dispersed
seed when buried seed reserves have been depleted and reestablishment is
often very slow. In some coastal areas, storm-borne saltwater can kill
hardwoods and allow Atlantic white-cedar to form nearly pure stands from
seed stored in the soil [25].
  • 10. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905]
  • 4. Buell, Murray F.; Cain, Robert L. 1943. The successional role of southern white cedar, Chamaecyparis thyoides, in southeastern North Carolina. Ecology. 24(1): 85-93. [14091]
  • 25. Little, Silas; Garrett, Peter W. 1990. Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P. Atlantic white-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 103-108. [13374]
  • 30. Montague, Katherine A.; Day Frank P.,Jr. 1980. Belowground biomass of four plant communities of the Great Dismal Swamp, Virginia. American Midland Naturalist. 103(1): 83-87. [10905]
  • 34. Penfound, William T. 1952. Southern swamps and marshes. The Botanical Review. 18: 413-446. [11477]
  • 39. Roman, Charles T.; Good, Ralph E.; Little, Silas. 1987. Atlantic white cedar swamps of the New Jersey Pinelands. In: Laderman, Aimlee D., ed. Atlantic white cedar wetlands. [Place of publication unknown]
  • 5. Christensen, Norman L. 1981. FIRE REGIMES in southeastern ecosystems. In: Mooney, H. A.; Bonnicksen, T. M.; Christensen, N. L.; [and others]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: litter, peat, presence

Seed: Atlantic white-cedar reproduces solely through an abundance of
light, winged seed [14,25]. In open stands, trees first produce seed at
3 to 5 years of age and often bear large crops from 4 years of age and
up [16,45]. In dense stands, seed production may not begin until plants
reach 10 to 20 years of age [25]. As many as 9,000,000 seeds per acre
(22 million seeds/ha) may be produced annually [25].

Seed banking: Seed can remain viable for at least 1 to 2 years when
stored in the upper inch (2.5 cm) of peat [16,19]. Little and Garrett
[25] reported the presence of 260,000 to 1,100,000 viable seeds per acre
(642,000-2,718,000/ha) within the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil.

Germination: Germination of Atlantic white-cedar is often low due to
poor viability and embryo dormancy [16,25]. Stratification at 38 to 40
degrees F (3-4 degrees C) for 90 days may promote germination [2,25].
Delayed germination is common, and in laboratory tests up to 50 percent
of germination was delayed until the second year [16]. Results of
specific germination tests were as follows [16]:

stratification -days germ. test germ. capacity

warm cold day night days percent
0 0 86 F 68 F 60 ----
0 90 86 F 68 F 28 84

Seedling establishment: Open peat and adequate moisture are required
for good seedling establishment [25,34]. Rotting wood, sphagnum moss,
and muck or peat serve as favorable seedbeds [25]. Thick litter and
dense slash can inhibit germination and subsequent establishment [25].
Adequate light is essential for good initial growth. Seedlings are
vulnerable to drought and flooding and often survive only on favorable
microsites [25].

Vegetative regeneration: Heavy browsing and other types of injury can
cause plants to layer [25]. As many as 15 stems may form from the same
root system as shoots develop from lateral branches or dormant stem buds
[25,26].
  • 45. Van Dersal, William R. 1938. Native woody plants of the United States, their erosion-control and wildlife values. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 362 p. [4240]
  • 2. Belcher, Earl W., Jr.; Hitt, Robert G. 1965. Eastern Tree Seed Laboratory: 12th annual report, fiscal year 1965. Macon, GA: Eastern Tree Seed Laboratory. 66 p. In cooperation with: Region 8 and the Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, U.S. Forest Service; Georgia Forestry Commission and Georgia Forest Research Council. [6522]
  • 14. Gibson, David J.; Good, Ralph E. 1986. Population structure and thinning in natural stands of Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) BSP). Oecologia. 69(3): 348-353. [14088]
  • 16. Harris, A. S. 1974. Chamaecyparis Spach white-cedar. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 316-320. [7586]
  • 19. Korstian, C. F. 1924. Natural regeneration of southern white cedar. Ecology. 5: 188-191. [10344]
  • 25. Little, Silas; Garrett, Peter W. 1990. Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P. Atlantic white-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 103-108. [13374]
  • 26. Little, Silas; Moorhead, George R.; Somes, Horace A. 1958. Forestry and deer in the Pine Region of New Jersey. Station Pap. No. 109. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 33 p. [11681]
  • 34. Penfound, William T. 1952. Southern swamps and marshes. The Botanical Review. 18: 413-446. [11477]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: phanerophyte, therophyte

Undisturbed State: Phanerophyte (mesophanerophyte)
Burned or Clipped State: Therophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: tree

Tree

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Post-fire Regeneration

ground-stored residual colonizer; fire-activated seed on-site in soil
off-site colonizer; seed carried by animals or water; postfire yr 1&2

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Reaction to Competition

Atlantic white-cedar is more tolerant  of shade than associated species such as gray birch and pitch pine, but  much less tolerant than red maple, blackgum, sweetbay, and other hardwoods  that form the climax on swamp sites in its range. It is most accurately  classed as intermediate in tolerance to shade. White-cedar reproduction  can grow through, and eventually overtop, scattered to moderately dense  shrubs such as highbush blueberry, although in the process the cedar   shoots may become extremely slender, almost like grass. White-cedar is not  sufficiently tolerant, however, to grow through dense shrub thickets or  through a hardwood overstory (6).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Silas Little

Source: Silvics of North America

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Rooting Habit

Atlantic white-cedar has a shallow root system.  In swamps where the lower soil layers are permanently saturated with  water, the roots are confined chiefly to the upper 1 to 2 feet of peat.  Where the water table occurs at lower levels and the soils are more deeply  aerated, the roots often penetrate to greater depths.

    The small taproot formed during the first year is subsequently lost in  the development of the strong superficial lateral roots. These are  numerous but do not become large. Because of its characteristically  shallow root system and weak root hold in the spongy organic soils,  white-cedar cannot withstand severe winds, and many mature trees are  felled in storms. Trees which have grown in dense stands on swamp peat  never become windfirm, and consideration must be given this fact in  planning the harvest of this species.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Silas Little

Source: Silvics of North America

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Pollen is generally shed in March or April [37]. Cones mature at the
end of the first growing season [16]. Most seeds are shed during
October or November, but seeds continue to be shed throughout the winter
and into the early spring [16,37]. Citing the results of a single
study, Little and Garrett [25] reported that 39 percent of all seeds had
fallen by November 15, 60 percent had fallen by December 15, and 93
percent had been shed by March 1. Generalized flowering and fruiting
dates by geographic location are as follows:

Location Flowering Fruit ripe Authority

New England ---- July Seymour 1985 [40]
NJ March Sept.-Oct. Harris 1974 [16]
se U.S. March-April ---- Duncan & Duncan 1988 [9]
s NJ April ---- Little & Garrett 1991 [25]
  • 40. Seymour, Frank Conkling. 1982. The flora of New England. 2d ed. Phytologia Memoirs 5. Plainfield, NJ: Harold N. Moldenke and Alma L. Moldenke. 611 p. [7604]
  • 9. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 322 p. [12764]
  • 16. Harris, A. S. 1974. Chamaecyparis Spach white-cedar. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 316-320. [7586]
  • 25. Little, Silas; Garrett, Peter W. 1990. Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P. Atlantic white-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 103-108. [13374]
  • 37. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606]

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Reproduction

Vegetative Reproduction

White-cedar seedlings or saplings, if  severely browsed or otherwise injured, will sometimes develop shoots from  lateral branches or from dormant buds on the stem. One white-cedar  seedling girdled by meadow mice produced 26 sprouts 2 to 10 cm (1 to 4 in)  long at its base. Seedlings of this species when repeatedly browsed by  deer may develop multiple stems through layering. From one such seedling 1  m (3 ft) tall, 14 additional stems 0.2 to 1.0 m (0.5 to 3.3 ft) tall  developed. Growth of the layered stems is slow, however (6).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Silas Little

Source: Silvics of North America

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Seedling Development

The viability of white-cedar seeds varies  from very low to a high of nearly 90 percent. In some tests, the average  was 84 percent (12). One cutting test of New Jersey seeds from a poor crop  yielded only 8 percent sound seeds, but actual germination from a good  crop the following year reached 76 percent. Viability of seeds from trees  3 to 4 years old may be low; in two tests only 3 to 25 percent of such  seeds germinated (6).

    Germination is epigeal, but delayed germination is common. Half the  seeds sown in the fall in a nursery may not germinate until the second  year. Consequently, stratification for 90 days at 4° C (40° F)  before sowing has been recommended (12). Some of the seeds produced by  mature stands remain viable for an unknown length of time when stored in  the forest floor. In a New Jersey study of sites protected from additional  seedfall for 1 year, the surface 2.5 cm (1.0 in) of forest floor was found  to contain 642,000 to 2,718,000 viable seeds per hectare (260,000 to  1,100,000/acre), with nearly an equal amount in the 5-cm (2-in) muck layer  underneath (6).

    A fair amount of light is necessary for good germination of white-cedar  seeds, but in one study, light intensity had to be less than 16 percent of  full sunlight before germination was greatly reduced. Some germination  occurred under a hardwood overstory where light intensity was only 1  percent of full sunlight (6).

    Favorable moisture conditions are highly important for the germination  and establishment of Atlantic white-cedar seedlings. In one experiment  with artificial seeding, 49 percent of the seeds germinated in clearcut  plots under typical swamp conditions, whereas in similar plots on drier  but still poorly drained sites, only 16 percent germinated on exposed  soil. As seedlings develop a very short taproot, the successful  establishment of white-cedar requires not only adequate surface moisture  for seed germination, but also available moisture within reach of the  comparatively shallow root systems.

    Suitable seedbeds include moist rotting wood, sphagnum moss, and muck,  which are all common in many swamps, and moist mineral soil. A thick  litter of pine needles, or the leaves of shrubs and hardwood trees, is  unfavorable. On one poorly drained site with a thick litter, removing the  litter from seed spots increased germination from less than 1 percent on  untreated areas to 13 percent on the cleared spots. Stocking of spots was  3 and 81 percent.

    Dense slash is extremely unfavorable for white-cedar establishment. In  studies of natural reproduction on cutover areas, slash-free spots had at  least 28 times as many seedlings as spots covered with dense slash (6).

    The microrelief of swamps also greatly affects seedling establishment.  Spots where water stands on the surface during much of the year are  unfavorable for both seed germination and seedling survival. Suitable  conditions are limited to the hummocks above the usual water table, but on  these hummocks seedlings may die during dry periods from insufficient  moisture. In general, the younger or smaller the seedlings are, the  greater the mortality from either drowning or drought.

    Relatively open conditions are essential for good survival and growth of  white-cedar seedlings. At light intensities of 4 to 6 percent of full  sunlight, as under mature white-cedar stands in New Jersey, seedlings  survive for only 1 to 3 years. Partial cuttings that thin the overstory  enable white-cedar reproduction to live longer, but not as long as  competing hardwoods and shrubs. Under a light intensity of 77 percent, the  initial growth of white-cedar seedlings was about twice that under a  16-percent intensity and almost 4 times that under a 2-percent intensity.  Hence, only relatively open areas, such as abandoned cranberry bogs and  clearcuttings, provide the conditions necessary for white-cedar seedlings  to compete successfully with hardwood and shrub associates (6).

    Open-grown Atlantic white-cedar seedlings may reach an average height of  6 cm (2.5 in) on unfavorable sites (such as sandy, poorly drained soils or  cranberry bogs) and 15 to 25 cm (6 to 10 in) on favorable sites in the  first year. In contrast, seedlings growing in swamps under heavy shade may  reach a height of only 2.5 cm (1 in) and a taproot length of only 5 cm (2  in) during the same time.

    On favorable open sites, seedlings add 0.2 to 0.3 m (0.6 to 0.9 ft) to  their height during the second year, and about 0.3 m (1 ft) a year for a  few years thereafter. Under these conditions, stems 3 m (10 ft) tall may  be 7 or 8 years old in the South and about 10 years old in the Northeast.  On less favorable sites, however, they may grow to heights of only 1.2 to  2.1 m (4 to 7 ft) in 15 years (6).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Seed Production and Dissemination

Under favorable conditions,  some 3-year-old Atlantic white-cedars bear mature cones. In one planting  of 1,300 2-year-old seedlings, 2 percent of the trees had mature cones at  the end of the first growing season in the field. In another planting, 20  percent of the 3-year-old seedlings produced one or more cones, and one  tree had 64; but these seedlings were relatively large, 28 cm (11 in)  tall. Seedlings only 10 cm (4 in) tall produced no cones (6).

    Natural reproduction in open stands starts bearing seed at 4 or 5 years,  in dense stands at 10 to 20 years (6).

    Cone production varies appreciably with tree size and crown class.  Intermediate or crowded stems produce markedly fewer cones than open-grown  or dominant trees of the same size. In one comparison of clumped and  open-grown trees, the larger, mostly dominant trees in the clumps were  fully as productive as open-grown trees of the same size; but the  intermediate and smaller clumped trees were much less productive than  their open-grown counterparts (4). Average numbers of cones per tree for  some selected sizes were as follows:

      Parent trees  Clumped trees  Open-grown trees        no. of cones      1.5 to 2.1 m (5 to 7 ft) tall  4  52      8 to 10 cm (3 to 4 in) d.b.h.  1,074  2,891      13 to 18 cm (5 to 7 in) d.b.h.  4,540  4,218        White-cedar usually produces fair to excellent seed crops each year.  Under one mature stand the catch in seed traps was 19.77 million seeds per  hectare (8 million/acre) in 1 year and 22.24 million/ha (9 million/acre)  the next year (6).

    Natural seed dissemination begins in October in New Jersey and most of  the seeds are released before the end of the winter. In one study, 39  percent of the crop fell by November 15, more than 60 percent by December  15, and 93 by March 1 (6).

    Seed dispersal is influenced by weather conditions. In one series of  observations, rain showers of 4 mm (0.16 in) or less caused only partial  closing of some cones, whereas rains of 11 mm (0.45 in) or more caused all  cones to close (6).

    Wind distributes most of the white-cedar seeds, although some may be  further scattered by floating on water. Probably because the seeds are so  small and have relatively large wings, the rate of fall is slow- 0.02 m  (0.6 ft) per second in still air. Calculations based on this rate of fall  indicate that a wind of 8 km/h (5 mi/h) would carry most seeds from a 15-m  (50-ft) tree about 183 m (600 ft). Records of seed traps around and under  white-cedar stands showed that most of the seeds fall directly under the  stands. Where surrounding vegetation was of comparable height, no seeds  were trapped beyond 20 in (66 ft) from the stand's edge.

    In a study of seed distribution from isolated trees, 60 percent of the  seeds fell at a distance greater than the height of the tree, even though  the catch per trap decreased greatly with increased distance. Because of  prevailing winds during dry periods, 80 to 85 percent of the seed catch  was on the east side of the source (6).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Flowering and Fruiting

White-cedar is monoecious, but the  staminate and pistillate flowers are produced on separate shoots. The  flower buds are formed in the summer and, though minute, are discernible  in the fall or winter. In New Jersey, the brownish staminate buds are only  about 1 mm (0.04 in) long or wide in February. The greenish pistillate  buds at the ends of short shoots are about the same size. When mature, the  four-sided, oblong, staminate flowers are about 3 mm (0.1 in) long, and   the pistillate flowers are about that wide. Pollen shedding usually occurs  in early April in southern New Jersey.

    The cones mature at the end of the first growing season. Full-grown  cones are spherical, about 6 mm (0.2 in) in diameter and contain 5 to 15  winged seeds (6). Seeds are rounded, slightly compressed, about 3 mm (0. 1  in) long, and have winged margins about as broad as the seeds. There are  about 1,014,000 seeds per kilogram (460,000/lb) (12).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Growth

Growth and Yield

On good sites white-cedar grows 0.3 to 0.5 m  (1.0 to 1.5 ft) in height each year and 0.25 to 0.40 cm (0.10 to 0.15 in)  in d.b.h. until trees are 40 to 50 years old. After 50 years, height  growth slows, while diameter growth continues at about the same rate for  an additional 50 years. Height growth essentially ceases at 100 years (6).

    Although white-cedar trees are relatively small, the basal area and  volume of stands tend to be high because of the high stand density. On the  basis of three 0.1 ha (0.25 acre) plots, one stand in Gates County, NC,  had 68 m²/ha (294 ft²/acre) of basal area, 85 percent of which  was white-cedar. Most of the trees of these plots were between 5 and 36 cm  (2 and 14 in) in d.b.h. According to yield tables, basal areas may reach  more than 69 m²/ha (300 ft²/acre). On areas with a site index at  base age 50 years of 14 m (45 ft), 50-year-old stands may have 56 to 57 m²/ha  (245 to 250 ft²/acre) of basal area and a total volume, including  stumps and tops, of 322 m³/ha (4,600 ft³/acre). On a site index  of 12 m (40 ft), a 60-year-old stand may have 4,200 stems per hectare  (1,700/acre), yielding about 220 m³/ha (35 cords/acre) to an inside  bark top diameter of 10 cm (4 in); a 70-year-old stand on a site index of  21 m (70 ft), 865 trees per hectare (350/acre) and 693 m³/ha (110  cords/acre). The yield to an inside-bark top diameter of 15 cm. (6 in) is  600 m³/ha (42,900 fbm/acre, International rule) at 60 years, and 1000  m³/ha (71,500 fbm/acre) at 100 years, both on a site index of 21 m  (70 ft) (6).

    In southern New England (lat. 41° to 42° N.), mature  white-cedars reach heights of 12 to 18 m (40 to 60 ft) and a d.b.h. of  about 41 cm (16 in), although some have grown to 122 cm (48 in). Optimum  development-a maximum height of 37 m (120 ft) and a d.b.h. of 152 cm (60  in)-- apparently occurred in the Virginia-North Carolina section at lat.  34° to 37° N. The maximum sizes for white-cedar in Alabama  (approximately lat. 31° N.) are somewhat less: 24 to 27 m (80 to 90  ft) high, with d.b.h. rarely more than 61 cm. (24 in) (6).

    Potentially, white-cedar is a relatively long-lived species. According  to one source, some trees have reached 1,000 years of age, although stand  age rarely exceeds 200 years (6).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Genetics

In some taxonomic treatments of white-cedar, the southern element in  Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi has been named as a separate variety,  Chamaecyparis thyoides var. henryae (Li) Little. Of the  many horticultural cultivars, at least one narrow, upright form has been  described (10).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Chamaecyparis thyoides

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Chamaecyparis thyoides

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Farjon, A.

Reviewer/s
Thomas, P.

Contributor/s

Justification

Exploitation in the past has impacted this species primarily in terms of numbers of mature trees, but this situation has reversed in most places and the species is likely to recover. It has a very wide range and is present in most of its swamp forest habitat, including within many reserves. As a result it is assessed as Least Concern.

The nominate variety is not assessed separately as it is also Least Concern.

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Atlantic white-cedar is listed as a rare plant in Virginia where timber
harvest has reduced its numbers [7]. It may also serve as a "habitat
indicator" for several other rare plants [7]. In parts of Florida, many
rare or endemic plants are associated with Atlantic white-cedar stands
[47].
  • 7. Dill, Norman H.; Tucker, Arthur O.; Seyfried, Nancy E.; Naczi, Robert F. C. 1987. Atlantic white cedar on the Delmarva Peninsula. In: Laderman, Aimlee D., ed. Atlantic white cedar wetlands. [Place of publication unknown]
  • 47. Ward, Daniel B.; Clewell, Andre F. 1989. Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) in the southern states. Florida Scientist. 51(1): 8-47. [14101]

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Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status, such as, state noxious status and wetland indicator values. Atlantic white-cedar is considered rare in Georgia, Mississippi, Maine, Maryland, New York, New Hampshire, and Maine.

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Population

Population
The population is stable and expanding in numbers in some places.

Population Trend
Increasing
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Threats

Major Threats
This species has been heavily exploited for its timber and 'total volume' is considered to have been much reduced during the 20th century (Little and Garrett in Burns and Honkala 1990). However, the species is still very widespread (though scattered) and common in most swamp forests on the Atlantic Coastal Plain and Mexican Gulf coast in Florida and Alabama, and is likely to have recovered in numbers if not yet in 'volume'.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is present in many protected areas throughout its range.
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Management considerations

More info for the term: peat

Timber harvest: Wetland drainage and heavy cutting has greatly reduced
Atlantic white-cedar, and in many areas harvested stands have been
maintained in an immature and degraded condition [24,25,46]. Harvesting
on a commercial scale is now generally limited to parts of North
Carolina [41].

Silviculture: Atlantic white-cedar often reestablishes in dense stands
after clearcutting [19]. Following clearcutting in the Great Dismal
Swamp, seed stored in the upper 1 inch (2.5 cm) of peat germinated at a
rate of more than 3,574,840 per acre (8,640,000/ha) [19]. The following
guidelines have been recommended for harvested Atlantic white-cedar
sites: (1) remove most of the slash, (2) allow periodic fires, (3)
control deer browsing if necessary, and (4) prevent the establishment of
competing vegetation [41,48].

Damage/disease: Atlantic white-cedar is resistant to disease and decay,
and has few insect pests [25]. It is susceptible to windthrow and
storm-caused breakage [25].
  • 19. Korstian, C. F. 1924. Natural regeneration of southern white cedar. Ecology. 5: 188-191. [10344]
  • 24. Little, S. 1946. The effects of forest fires on the stand history of New Jersey's Pine Region. Forest Management Paper No. 2. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture,Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 43 p. [11619]
  • 25. Little, Silas; Garrett, Peter W. 1990. Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P. Atlantic white-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 103-108. [13374]
  • 41. Tangley, Laura. 1984. Taking stock of white cedar wetlands. BioScience. 34(11): 682-684. [8681]
  • 46. Ward, Daniel B. 1989. Commercial utilization of Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides, Cupressaceae). Economic Botany. 43(3): 386-415. [9674]
  • 48. Zampella, Robert A. 1987. Atlantic white cedar management in the New Jersey Pinelands. In: Laderman, Aimlee D., ed. Atlantic white cedar wetlands. [Place of publication unknown]

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Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly Soil Conservation Service) office for more information. Look in the phone book under ”United States Government.” The Natural Resources Conservation Service will be listed under the subheading “Department of Agriculture.”

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Because of the shallow root system, trees of Atlantic white-cedar are extremely susceptible to windthrow, especially where they occur in permanently saturated sites and where stands have been opened by partial cuttings. Fungi and insects usually do not cause serious damage.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Uses

Uses: FIBER, Building materials/timber

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Other uses and values

More info for the term: tree

Atlantic white-cedar is attractive and hardy and is often planted as an
ornamental [9]. More than 19 cultivars are now available [16,33].
Atlantic white-cedar is used locally as a Christmas tree in parts of the
South [46].
  • 9. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 322 p. [12764]
  • 16. Harris, A. S. 1974. Chamaecyparis Spach white-cedar. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 316-320. [7586]
  • 33. Munson, Richard H. 1973. Dwarf conifers: the landscaper's boon. American Nurseryman. 137(10): 10-11, 55. [14096]
  • 46. Ward, Daniel B. 1989. Commercial utilization of Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides, Cupressaceae). Economic Botany. 43(3): 386-415. [9674]

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Cover Value

More info for the term: cover

Atlantic white-cedar provides cover for a variety of birds and mammals.
The yellow-throated warbler, prairie warbler, and hooded warbler nest
close to the ground in Atlantic white-cedar stands [42]. Cavities
provide nesting areas for the pileated woodpecker [42].
  • 42. Terwilliger, Karen. 1987. Breeding birds of two Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) stands in the Great Dismal Swamp. In: Laderman, Aimlee D., ed. Atlantic white cedar wetlands. [Place of publication unknown]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

Browse: Atlantic white-cedar is a preferred deer browse in many areas
[26]. In lowland sites of New Jersey, deer often browse plants during
the winter [26]. Seedlings are especially favored [25] and may be
killed by intense deer use [26]. Meadow mice occasionally browse the
stems and often girdle seedlings [25]. Trees serve as territorial
marking posts for black bears in parts of the South [47].
  • 25. Little, Silas; Garrett, Peter W. 1990. Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P. Atlantic white-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 103-108. [13374]
  • 26. Little, Silas; Moorhead, George R.; Somes, Horace A. 1958. Forestry and deer in the Pine Region of New Jersey. Station Pap. No. 109. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 33 p. [11681]
  • 47. Ward, Daniel B.; Clewell, Andre F. 1989. Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) in the southern states. Florida Scientist. 51(1): 8-47. [14101]

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Wood Products Value

The light brown, straight-grained wood of Atlantic white-cedar is
lightweight, buoyant, and easily worked [25,37,46]. It is fragrant,
repels insects, and is resistant to decay [41,46]. Atlantic white-cedar
has been logged heavily since the Revolutionary War [19,24] for fuels,
ship-building, shingles, milled lumber, charcoal, household items,
barrels, pails, tubs, water tanks, and duck decoys [25,46].

The wood of Atlantic white-cedar is currently used for telephone poles,
posts, pilings, ties, siding, boat railing, decking, lawn furniture,
paneling, and ice cream buckets [16,46].
  • 16. Harris, A. S. 1974. Chamaecyparis Spach white-cedar. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 316-320. [7586]
  • 19. Korstian, C. F. 1924. Natural regeneration of southern white cedar. Ecology. 5: 188-191. [10344]
  • 24. Little, S. 1946. The effects of forest fires on the stand history of New Jersey's Pine Region. Forest Management Paper No. 2. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture,Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 43 p. [11619]
  • 25. Little, Silas; Garrett, Peter W. 1990. Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P. Atlantic white-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 103-108. [13374]
  • 37. Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183 p. [7606]
  • 41. Tangley, Laura. 1984. Taking stock of white cedar wetlands. BioScience. 34(11): 682-684. [8681]
  • 46. Ward, Daniel B. 1989. Commercial utilization of Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides, Cupressaceae). Economic Botany. 43(3): 386-415. [9674]

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

Atlantic white-cedar has potential value for rehabilitating certain
disturbed wetland habitats. It has been planted at Tennessee Valley
Authority impoundments along shorelines within the fluctuation zone
[1].

Atlantic white-cedar can be propagated from seed. Cleaned seed averages
460,000 per pound (1,014,000/kg) [25]. Atlantic white-cedar can also be
propagated from cuttings [16].
  • 1. Bates, A. Leon; Pickard, Eugene; Dennis, Michael. 1979. Tree plantings - a diversified management tool for reservoir shorelines. In: Johnson, R. Roy; McCormick, J. Frank, technical coordinators. Strategies for protection and management of floodplain wetlands & other riparian ecosystems: Proc. of the symposium; 1978 December 11-13; Callaway Gardens, GA. Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-12. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 190-194. [4360]
  • 16. Harris, A. S. 1974. Chamaecyparis Spach white-cedar. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 316-320. [7586]
  • 25. Little, Silas; Garrett, Peter W. 1990. Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P. Atlantic white-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 103-108. [13374]

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Palatability

Atlantic white-cedar browse is highly palatable to white-tailed deer
[26]. Fruit is evidentally low in palatability for most birds and
rodents [45].
  • 45. Van Dersal, William R. 1938. Native woody plants of the United States, their erosion-control and wildlife values. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 362 p. [4240]
  • 26. Little, Silas; Moorhead, George R.; Somes, Horace A. 1958. Forestry and deer in the Pine Region of New Jersey. Station Pap. No. 109. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 33 p. [11681]

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Special Uses

The lightweight, straight-grained wood of Atlantic white-cedar is easily  worked, resistant to decay, and shrinks and warps very little during  seasoning. These characteristics probably govern its use today as much as  they did in colonial times. In those times it was used for shingles,  barrels, tanks, and small boats. Today it is still used where durability,  light weight, and resistance to weathering are important considerations:  telephone poles, piling, ties, siding, boat railing, and ice cream tubs.  Atlantic white-cedar has limited value for wildlife-white-tailed deer  browse its foliage-and is occasionally used as an ornamental (2,4).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Silas Little

Source: Silvics of North America

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Uses

The wood is light, soft, close-grained, and slightly fragrant. It is easily worked, resistant to decay, and shrinks and warps very little during seasoning. It has been used for shingles, posts, woodenware, and interior finishes, but primary current uses are for telephone poles, piling, ties, siding, and boat railing. Many cultivars of Atlantic white-cedar have been described (see Rehder 1949).

Heavy cutting for many commercial uses during this century has considerably reduced even the largest stands, but it is still considered a commercially important species in the major supply areas of southeastern Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and northwestern Florida.

Cultivars have been selected for shape and needle color – they are useful for naturalizing in wet areas.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Wikipedia

Chamaecyparis thyoides

Foliage and pollen cones

Chamaecyparis thyoides (Whitecedar Falsecypress or Atlantic White cedar), is a species of Chamaecyparis, native to the Atlantic coast of North America from Maine south to Georgia, with a disjunct population on the Gulf of Mexico coast from Florida to Mississippi. It grows on wet sites on the coastal plain at altitudes from sea level up to 50 m, more rarely in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains up to 460 m altitude.[2][3] The common name "Atlantic White Cedar" has been rejected by the American Joint Committee on Horticultural Nomenclature, as it is a cypress, not a cedar.[4] However, it is still the most widely used name for this species. It is also spelled "Atlantic Whitecedar", combining the words "white" and "cedar" to indicate that the tree is not a true cedar.

Chamaecyparis thyoides near the edge of a bog

It is an evergreen coniferous tree growing to 20-28 m (rarely to 35 m) tall, with feathery foliage in moderately flattened sprays, green to glaucous blue-green in color. The leaves are scale-like, 2-4 mm long, and produced in opposite decussate pairs on somewhat flattened shoots; seedlings up to a year old have needle-like leaves. The seed cones are globose, 4-9 mm diameter, with 6-10 scales, green or purple, maturing brown in 5–7 months after pollination. The pollen cones are purple or brown, 1.5–3 mm long and 1–2 mm broad, releasing their yellow pollen in spring.[2][5]

A dense "Atlantic White Cedar swamp" in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.

There are two geographically isolated subspecies, treated by some botanists as distinct species, by others at just varietal rank:[2][5]

Older gypsy moth caterpillars sometimes eat the foliage, whereas young ones will avoid it.

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Chamaecyparis thyoides is of some importance in horticulture, with several cultivars of varying crown shape, growth rates and foliage color having been selected for garden planting. Named cultivars include 'Andelyensis' (dwarf, with dense foliage), 'Ericoides' (juvenile foliage), and 'Glauca' (strongly glaucous foliage).[5] The wood is reported to endure moisture indefinitely; it has been used for fence-posts, ties and shingles. [6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Conifer Specialist Group (1998). Chamaecyparis thyoides. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006.
  2. ^ a b c Farjon, A. (2005). Monograph of Cupressaceae and Sciadopitys. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 1-84246-068-4
  3. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network: Chamaecyparis thyoides
  4. ^ Kelsey, H. P., & Dayton, W. A. (1942). Standardized Plant Names, ed.2. American Joint Committee on Horticultural Nomenclature. Horace McFarland Company, Harrisburg, Pa.
  5. ^ a b c Rushforth, K. (1987). Conifers. Helm ISBN 0-7470-2801-X.
  6. ^ Peattie, Donald Culross. Trees You Want to Know. Whitman Publishing Company, Racine, Wisconsin, 1934 p31
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Notes

Comments

Li H. L. (1962) segregated some populations at the extreme southwestern limit of the species in Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi as Chamaecyparis henryae based on smoother bark, less flattened branchlets, lighter yellowish green foliage, steeper angle of leaf appression to the stem, more prominently keeled but less glandular leaves, and slightly larger cones, seeds, and seed wings. These features were contrasted with phenotypes found in the "northern and mid-Atlantic" populations, and Li proposed a relationship to C . nootkatensis rather than to C . thyoides . Preliminary comparison of herbarium material from the Southeast (including populations in Georgia and Florida) leads to retention of C . thyoides as a subtly variable complex with the imperfectly differentiated C . henryae at one end of the range. 

 A. J. Rehder (1949) listed, with bibliographic citations, 30 published varieties and forms best considered as cultivars.

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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: John Kartesz (discussion with Larry Morse, 29Jul01) notes that he plans to treat Chamaecypris nootkatensis in the genus Cupressus in his next edition, but plans to keep C. thyoides and C. lawsoniana in Chamaecyparis.

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© NatureServe

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Common Names

Atlantic white-cedar
southern white-cedar
white-cedar
swamp-cedar
false-cedar
juniper

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The currently accepted scientific name of Atlantic white-cedar is
Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P. [18]. It is a member of the cypress
family (Cupressaceae) [25].

In some taxonomic treatments, two primarily geographic varieties of
Atlantic white-cedar have been delineated (var. henryae and var.
thyoides) [16,25]. However, most current taxonomic treatments no longer
recognize these varieties [18,25]. The existence of climatic races is
possible, although they have not yet been defined [16].
  • 16. Harris, A. S. 1974. Chamaecyparis Spach white-cedar. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., technical coordinator. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 316-320. [7586]
  • 25. Little, Silas; Garrett, Peter W. 1990. Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) B.S.P. Atlantic white-cedar. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Volume 1. Conifers. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 103-108. [13374]
  • 18. Kartesz, John T.; Kartesz, Rosemarie. 1980. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. Volume II: The biota of North America. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press; in confederation with Anne H. Lindsey and C. Richie Bell, North Carolina Botanical Garden. 500 p. [6954]

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Synonyms

Cupressus thyoides L.
Chamaecyparis henryae Li
Chamaecyparis thyoides var. henryae (Li) Little

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