Alaska yellow cedar
Alaska yellow-cedar (Yc) - Chamaecyparis nootkatensis
Alaska yellow-cedar is a coastal, high-elevation, tree species. It is a medium-sized (rarely >40 m tall), evergreen, scale-leaved conifer, at maturity often with a slightly twisted (buttressed in old trees) stem, drooping leader, flattened, vertically hanging branches, and thin, grayish-brown bark that, with age, separates into narrow, intersecting ridges. It is one of the slowest growing but most valuable conifers owing to the unique colour, texture, and durability of its wood.
|Geographic Range||Geographic element:
Western North American/Pacific and less Cordilleran
Distribution in Western North America:
north and central in the Pacific region; central (and south) in the Cordilleran region
subalpine boreal - cool temperate - cool mesothermal
submontane - montane - subalpine
Occurrence in biogeoclimatic zones:
MH, (ESSF), hypermaritime, upper, and northern CWH
Range of soil moisture regimes:
(moderately dry) - slightly dry - fresh - moist - very moist - wet
Range of soil nutrient regimes:
very poor - poor - medium - rich - very rich
The nutritional requirements of Alaska yellow-cedar are comparable with those of western redcedar, even though Alaska yellow-cedar is a little more tolerant of the soils derived from those igneous rocks in which calcium and magnesium rich minerals are almost lacking, but potassium feldspars are present. As in the case of western redcedar, nitrates are a better source of nitrogen for the growth of Alaska yellow-cedar (Krajina 1969).
|Root System Characteristics||In freely drained soils Alaska yellow-cedar develops a dense, profuse root system, with a non-existent or poorly defined taproot, similar to that of western redcedar. Fine roots form a very dense mat in the surface organic layer. Roots are mycorrhizal of the vesicular arbuscular type.|
|Associated tree species and successional role||In British Columbia, Alaska yellow-cedar grows in uneven-aged, mixed-species stands, rarely in pure or even-aged stands. It is often a pioneer species on colluvial and wetland sites, and is present in early, mid-, and late stages of secondary succession; a major component in old-growth stands in the hypermaritime CWH subzones and MH zone.|
|Genetics||Information on genetic variation of Alaska yellow-cedar is not available; however, 15 horticultural varieties are recognized.|
|Notes||Interest in management of Alaska yellow-cedar to assure its continuous supply is relatively recent, and information on growth and yield of second-growth stands is not yet available. However, it is a very promising species when considering its ecological, silvical, and timber values. More detailed silvics information is given by:
Harris, A.S. 1990. Chamaecyparis nootkatensis. Pp. 97-102 in R.M. Burns and B.H. Honkala (technical coordinators) Silvics of North America, Vol. 1. Agri. Handbook 654, USDA For. Serv., Washington, D.C.
Lousier, J.D. (compiler and editor) 1991. Yellow cypress: can we grow it? Can we sell it? FRDA Report 171, B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C. 57 pp.