Exclusively a tree of the Coastal Plain, Atlantic White Cedar is found in year-round swamps from New England southward to Florida and Mississippi. It occurs with Bald Cypress and deep swamp hardwoods, but more often is found in pure stands called glades. The branches are very short and horizontal, so that even when grown in the open the tree has a tall, narrow, conical shape.
The leaves are minute, scale-like, and four-ranked, of a bluish-green color. They entirely cover the slender, drooping twigs, overlapping like shingles.
Fruit of this tree is a rather inconspicuous, nearly round cone, about one-fourth inch in diameter, maturing in one year and containing from four to eight winged seeds.
The ashy-gray to light reddish brown bark is quite thin and readily separates into loose plate-like scales which easily peel off in long, fibrous strips. The wood is light, soft, close-grained, slightly fragrant, and resistant to rot. These qualities make it useful for boat building, shingles, fence posts, and telephone poles, but because of limited supplies, its lumber is not well known in the general markets.