Platycladus orientalis (formerly Thuja orientalis)

  • BOTANICAL NAME: Platycladus orientalis
  • PRONUNCIATION: (plat-e-CLA-dus  or-e-EN-tal-us)
  • COMMON NAME: Oriental Arborvitae
  • FAMILY: Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)
  • NATIVITY: China, Japan, Korea.
  • GROWTH HABIT: Large shrub or small tree, conical to columnar in youth, becoming open with age. Plants are typically multistemmed, which leads to potential ice and snow damage. Distinctly different from the eastern arborvitae due to its flat sprays of foliage that lie in a vertical orientation.
  • SIZE: 15’ to 35’ tall and 10’ to 15’ wide at maturity.
  • HARDINESS: Zone 6 to 9.
  • CULTURE: Full sun, adaptable to a wide variety of soils except saturated wet soils. Is quite heat tolerant. Protect from winter winds to maintain foliage color in the winter months.
  • LANDSCAPE USE: Traditionally used as a screening or hedging plant, or as a token conifer in a residential landscape. Works well in group plantings, if there is sufficient space.
  • FOLIAGE: Leaves are tightly appressed to the stem and uniformly green on both surfaces. The foliage is the smallest of the arborvitae, approximately 1½”. Emits a resinous odor when bruised or crushed.
  • BUDS: No obvious buds.
  • BARK:  Thin, red-brown, exfoliating in fibers.
  • CONE:  Cone is ovate-oblong, about ½” long, with a distinct recurved, hornlike projection on the apex of the scales. This distinguishes oriental arborvitae from most other arborvitae. Cones typically have 6 scales.
  • PROPAGATION:  Seed, cuttings.
  • PESTS: Bagworms.
  • CULTIVARS: ‘Semperaurea’:  Ovate form to 10’ with yellow foliage.




University of Delaware

University of Delaware Botanic GardensNewark, DE 19716Phone: 302 831-0153