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Oriental Arborvitae (Platycladus orientalis (L.) Franco)

Also known as Chinese Arborvitae, biota, Chinese thuja, Oriental thuja.

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An evergreen conifer native to northeast Asia, widely planted in landscaping and naturalised in parts of the US.

Range - Expand

Introduced or Not Present

This map is based on our research. We have checked its accuracy to Level 3 ecoregions. Although this plant occurs somewhere in each of these regions, it may only occur in a small part of some or all of them.


In North America, this species is widely used as a landscaping plant, particularly as a privacy hedge. where it is valued for its dense foliage, relatively small maximum size, and ability to be pruned into different shapes.

Most sources describe this species as having little invasive potential, but, conflicting with this assessment, it has escaped into the wild throughout the southern portions of the US, from NM east to VA and FL, suggesting it may have some potential to become invasive. Farther north in areas where it does not have much potential to survive in the wild, it is often not cold-hardy and can struggle in gardens.


We prefer the term "Oriental arborvitae" over "Chinese arborvitae" because this plant is native to East Asia, including parts of Korea and Russia, but not to all of China. The common names including "thuja" or "biota" reference other scientific names which are no longer in use, and are a good illustration of why it is not good to use scientific names in a species' common name.

Platycladus orientalis (Oriental arborvitae) | USDA PLANTS Database (About This Site)

Platycladus orientalis (Oriental Arborvitae) | Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder (About This Site)

Oriental Arborvitae | Virginia Tech Dendrology Factsheets (About This Site)

Platycladus orientalis | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)

Platycladus orientalis | NatureServe Explorer (About This Site)

Platycladus orientalis (L.) Franco | Plants of the World Online (POWO) (About This Site)