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Asunaro Thujopsis dolabrata

Previously known as:

  • Libocedrus dolabrata
  • Platycladus dolabrata
  • Thuja dolabrata
Phonetic Spelling
thoo-YOP-sis dol-uh-BRAY-tuh
Description

Hiba arborvitae is a large conical evergreen conifer tree in the cypress family. It is native to the moist forests of Central Japan and may grow as tall as 100 feet in its native habitat. Cultivated trees grow from 30 to 50 feet tall.  The bright, coarse, glossy green leaves are densely packed to provide color and winter interest in the garden.  Seed cones ripen in the fall, and it also has attractive flaking bark. This conifer is dense and pyramidal, and it usually has a conical crown with branches that sweep upward. 

The genus name, Thujopsis, comes from the genus name, Thuja. Opsis is translated as meaning "like or similar." The epithet, dolabrata, refers to the stomatal bands on the undersides of the leaves and means "hatch-like."

Plant in full sun to partial shade in moist, well-drained, neutral to acidic soils.  This tree does not tolerate dry soils and appreciates protection from wind and afternoon sun in hot summer locations.  This tree is quite large so choose a location that plans for its mature size.

This evergreen is intolerant to drought, and it is best to avoid exposed sites, windy sites, or full shade. It can be susceptible to branch breakage from snow and ice and winter burn on leaves.

Hiba arborvitae has a beautiful form and foliage, but it requires a large space to grow.

Seasons of Interest:

Bark:  Year-round        Foliage:  Year-round               Fruit: Fall

Quick ID Hints:

  • large conifer with pyramidal habit and conical crown
  • flaking gray to reddish-brown bark
  • the leaves are small, scale-like, dark glossy green on the upper surface with stomatal bands on the undersides
  • non-flowering
  • small solitary brown seed cones on terminal branches that ripen in the fall 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious insect and disease issues but leaf blight can cause some damage as may canker, leaf miner, scales, mealybugs, and mites.

VIDEO created by Ryan Contreras for “Landscape Plant Materials I:  Deciduous Hardwoods and Conifers or Landscape Plant Materials II:  Spring Flowering Trees and Shrubs” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Latifolia'
    Dwarf form
  • 'Nana'
    dwarf shrub, spreading, flat and thinner leaves
'Latifolia', 'Nana'
Tags:
#wildlife plant#large tree#slow growing#conifer#fleshy leaves#cover plant#winter interest#hedges#privacy#needled evergreen#glossy leaves#screening#drought intolerant#dense growth#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Latifolia'
    Dwarf form
  • 'Nana'
    dwarf shrub, spreading, flat and thinner leaves
'Latifolia', 'Nana'
Tags:
#wildlife plant#large tree#slow growing#conifer#fleshy leaves#cover plant#winter interest#hedges#privacy#needled evergreen#glossy leaves#screening#drought intolerant#dense growth#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Thujopsis
    Species:
    dolabrata
    Family:
    Cupressaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Japan
    Wildlife Value:
    Provides shelter for wildlife
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 15 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Conical
    Dense
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Seed cones are about 0.75-inches long and are tiny, thick, ovoid, and brown. They are solitary on terminal branches.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    Non-flowering
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Fleshy
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Decussate pairs of small-scale-like leaves that measure 4-6 mm long. The thick fleshy coarse leaves are glossy green on the upper surface, and they have white stomatal bands beneath.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Bark Description:
    Gray to Red-brown exfoliating or flaking bark that flakes off in vertical strips
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The branchlets grow in a single plane.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Shade Tree