Thuja occidentalis, also known as northern white-cedar, Arbor vitae or eastern arborvitae, is an evergreen coniferous tree, in the cypress family Cupressaceae.
The name arborvitae is particularly used in the horticultural trade in the United States. It is Latin for “tree of life” – due to the supposed medicinal properties of the sap, bark and twigs.
Unlike the closely related western red-cedar (Thuja plicata), northern white-cedar is only a small or medium-sized tree, growing to a height of 15m. It grows naturally in wet forests, being particularly abundant in coniferous swamps where other larger and faster-growing trees cannot compete successfully.
It is native to eastern Canada and much of the north, central and upper North-eastern United States.