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In the lumber trade, the American arborvitae, some species of false cypress (genus Chamaecyparis) and McNab cypress, incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens), and California juniper, all in the cypress family. Nonconiferous trees that are called white cedar include the chinaberry (Melia azedarach, mahogany family) and some members of the plant families Bignoniaceae (trumpet creepers), Celastraceae (staff trees), Myristicaceae (nutmegs), Burseraceae, and Dipterocarpaceae. Botanically, white cedar is Chamaecyparis thyoides, a picturesque tree with purple cones, native to North America and East Asia. The wood is used for carpentry, pencils, storage chests, interiors, and fence posts.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on white cedar, visit Britannica.com.