WHITE CEDAR (Thuja Occidentalis)

White cedar is a tree commonly known to many because of its wide range and its distinct leaves and bark.  The leaves are often described as scale-like, rather needles, making them unique among coniferous trees.  The bark is reddish-brown and sometimes breaks into shredded strips, and can be used as tinder for starting a campfire.  Its' wood is fragrant and reddish brown in colour and is resistant to rot, making it suited to many uses including fence posts.  There are places on the property of the Ignatius Jesuit Centre where remnant cedar rail fences can be found in the forests.
     The White Cedar is sometimes referred to as the Arborvitae, or "Tree of Life", because First Nations people made a tea with its leaves that had a significant amount of vitamin C.  This was shared with early European colonists in order to prevent and treat scurvy.
     The White Cedar is abundant on the Ignatius Old-Growth Forest site, especially along the bank of the Speed River and in the low-lying areas near Marden Creek.  Here you may find them in nearly pure stands.  White cedar can reproduce by seed, but seedlings are so commonly browsed by deer that this method of reproduction is seldom.  Instead, they will often reproduce through layering, where low-growing branch touches soil and develops roots at this point of contact.  The branch will later detach from its parent plant and become the stem of a new tree.


The Eastern White Pine is the tallest tree species found in the Ignatius Old-Growth Forest site.  It is known as a super canopy tree, towering over all other tree species.  Apart from its size, the Eastern White Pine can be identified by its long cylindrical cones and its needles that group in five's.
     The Eastern White Pine once covered most of northeastern North America.  Today, only a very small percentage of the original old-growth White Pine stands remain.  It was logged extensively and used in ship building, especially for ship masts and as lumber for colonial homes.  The Eastern White Pine is the provincial tree of Ontario and is known by some Native American peoples as the Tree of Peace.

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