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Chamaecyparis thyoides

Common Name(s):
Atlantic white cedar, Swamp cedar, White cypress
Rubicon, Barton
Native Plants, Trees

The Chamaecyparis thyoides is an evergreen tree that may grow 60 to 80 feet tall.  The foilage is scale-like and blue/green in color. The bark is fibrous with intersection flat ridges, which sometimes spiral along the stem.  It is native to freshwater swamps, bogs and wet woods along the Atlantic coast from Maine to Florida and along the Gulf coast from Florida to Mississippi.

Mature bark of the Atlantic White Cedar is reddish brown. The wood has excellent resistance to decay and has been used for a number of purposes including boat construction, shingles and posts.

Regions:  Coastal Plains

Seasons of Interest: 

     Leaves: Evergreen      Bloom:  Spring      Fruit/Seed/Nut:  Cone

Wildlife Value:  This tree provides cover for wildlife during the winter and extreme weather. It is also a larval plant for butterflies.

Play Value: Wildlife Enhancement

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  With the Atlantic White Cedar there are no serious insect or disease problems. It does have some susceptibility to juniper blight, root rot and certain insect pests such as bagworms.  This tree is frequently damaged by white tailed deer.

Fire Risk: This plant has a high flammability rating and should not be planted within the defensible space of your home.  Select plants with a low fammability rating for the sites nearest your home.


40-50 ft.
The Atlantic White Cedar has red-yellow male flowers and small green female flowers that mature in the spring. It produces yellow pollen-bearing cones which are found at the stem ends. It's seed bearing cones formed in clusters emerge purple but mature to brown.
The Atlantic White Cedar is easily grown in average, moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun. Thrives in moist, fertile, peaty-sandy soils. Tolerates some wet soils. Shelter from strong winds. Pruning is rarely needed.
Tall, slender columnar tree; looses lower branches with age
Sun, part sun
10-20 ft.
Growth Rate:
The scale-like adult leaves and needle-like juvenile leaves of the Atlantic White Cedar are a soft blue green with needle-like foliage with white markings. The leaf is flattened having irregular sprays in dense bunches with sharp, pointed tips.
cover, high flammability, highly beneficial coastal plants, ncemgva2018, play, playground, wildlife, children’s garden, host, larval, fire, evergreen

NCCES plant id: 1960

Chamaecyparis thyoides Chamaecyparis thyoides
F. D. Richards, CC BY-SA - 4.0
Chamaecyparis thyoides Chamaecyparis thyoides
Rafael Medina , CC BY-NC-ND - 4.0
Chamaecyparis thyoides Chamaecyparis thyoides
S. Rae, CC BY - 4.0
Chamaecyparis thyoides Chamaecyparis thyoides
Duane Burdick, CC BY - 4.0