I first saw this Northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) in International Bonsai magazine (2009 issue 4). It also appears on the Bonsai Society of Upstate New York’s website. It belongs to Marc Arpag and was part of the Society’s 36th Upstate New York Exhibition (2009). It jumped out at me because I have a thing for cedars, but can never seem to find any that begin to approach this natural wonder.
When is a cedar a cedar (or not)? Common names often create confusion. There are only four true cedar (Cedrus) species in the world, yet an abundance of trees that are commonly called cedars. These include Atlantic white cedar (Cham. thyoides), at least one juniper (Eastern red cedar – J. Virginiana), the Incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens), the Northern white (also called Eastern white cedar) featured above, the Western red cedar (Thuja plicata) and no doubt several others (anyone else?).
The tree of life All the Thuja genus are arborvitaes (the tree of life), though the tendency seems to be to call the wild species cedars and the domestic cultivars arborvitaes (if you’ve read this far, you are unusual (exceptional?) in the world of bonsai enthusiasts – it always amazes me how few bonsai enthusiasts seem to be interested in trees).
This shot puts the tree a little more into perspective (it looks a little smaller than I originally thought).