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why are North American Thuja and Chamaecyparis called 'cedars?'

15 years ago

Why are North American trees in the Cypress family, Juniperus virginiana, Chamaecyparis thyoides, Thuja plicata and Thuja occidentalis (sp)1 called "cedars" as a common name? Where did this originate? They look nothing like the Cedrus species at all!

I guess the question is really, as a common name, were Cedrus first called Cedars, or were Chamaecyparis and Thuja first called Cedars?

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