Thuja orientalis
Common name: 
Oriental Arborvitae
THEW-ya o-ree-en-TAH-lis
Platycladus orientalis
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Conifer, evergreen shrub or tree, 4-6 ft (1.2-1.8 m) high, 3-5 ft (0.9-1.5 m) wide, [as a tree it may reach 40 ft (12 m) tall], dense, globular to ovoid, with branchlets held vertically and nearly parallel in arrangement.  Bark thin, red-brown, separating into papery scales.  Leaves scale-like, bright green but may turn brownish in winter, nearly alike on both sides, those on a main axis glandular, ending in a free spreading point.  Cones ovoid, 1.5-2.5 cm long, fleshy, blue before they mature, scales thick and hooked.
  • Sun.  Tends to open up with age, and may have to be tied.
  • A popular cultivar is 'Aurea Nana' [Dwarf Golden Arborvitae, or Beckman Golden Arborvitae], it is dense, dwarf, and has an ovoid form; grows to 10 ft (3 m). Its leaves are initially golden-yellow, but fade to a light yellow-green.  Here are two more cultivars:
  • 'Morgan'  -   dwarf shrub, yellowish foliage, turns orange in winter, grows about 8 cm per year
  • 'Van Hoey Smith'  -  shrub, upright, yellow-gold variegation, slow growing, about 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) per year
  • Hardy to USDA Zone (5)6       Native to Korea, Manchuria and northern China.


Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit

    plant habit

  • plant habit

    plant habit

  • plant habit, older plants

    plant habit, older plants

  • branches with cones

    branches with cones

  • branchlets, immature cones

    branchlets, immature cones

  • branchlets, mature cones

    branchlets, mature cones

  • leaves


  • branchlets, comparison

    branchlets, comparison

  • leaves, comparison

    leaves, comparison

  • branchlets and cones, comparison

    branchlets and cones, comparison