9/01/2011

Candelabra Cedar

Candelabra cedar in the Saseenos area of Sooke, BC

Flowing cedar roots

The Western red-cedar (Thuja plicata) is a long-lived coastal forest tree that assumes a unique architecture and character as it ages. From the flowing, seeking, roots to the multi-topped canopies, the sacred cedar is one gnarly magical tree.



The tree pictured at the top sports an amazing candelabra, but not because any leaders have died. This tree has multiple leaders, and all of them are healthy. All together they add up to a large volume of wood - this is a deceptively large tree.





Cedar can live for 1500 years or more, and older trees are often described as 'disfigured'. Many old trees take on a characteristic candelabra shape as the main leader dies, then is replaced by another. These spires become weathered and grey over time forming bleached tridents that Neptune would be proud to own.


Typical candelabra form of ancient red cedars in Avatar Grove, Port Renfrew
Not only are Western red-cedar unique in their shape and form, but they are also the largest trees in BC's coastal forest. The Cheewhat Cedar has a trunk circumference of just less than 19 meters (59 ft), and soars to a height of 59 m (193 ft). There is a cedar on Meares Island in Clayoquot Sound (near Tofino) that has a trunk circumference of 20 meters (65 ft).

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