Thuya Wood Features


Common Name(s): Thuya (burl)

Scientific Name: Tetraclinis articulata

Distribution: Atlas mountain region

(primarily Morocco, as well as subpopulations in Morocco, Malta and southern Spain)

Tree Size: 20-50 ft (6-15 m) tall, 1-2 ft (.3-.6 m) trunk diameter




 Color is generally an orangish or reddish brown. Color tends to darken with age to a medium to dark reddish brown. Nearly always exported and sold as burls from the root of the tree, with plain or unfigured wood of little commercial value.


  Burl blocks can vary in frequency and size of knot clusters, but grain is more or less swirled/irregular. With a medium to fine texture and good natural luster.

 Rot Resistance: 

 Rated as durable; good insect/borer resistance.


 Like most other burls, Thuya burl can be difficult to work, and care must be taken to avoid tearout. Most shaping/planing operations will result in torn grain, and should be performed by hand with very sharp tools. Sands and finishes well.


 Thuya has a very distinct, cedar-like smell.


  Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Thuya has been reported to cause eye and skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.


 Most commonly sold as root burls. Expect prices to be very high, particularly on pieces with premium figuring exhibiting numerous tightly-packed burl eyes.


 This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, and is reported by the IUCN as being a species of least concern. However, the small subpopulations in Malta and Spain are both regionally endangered.

 Common Uses:

  Carvings, veneer, decorative boxes, turned objects, and other small speciality wood items.


Cedar-like tree that is the sole species in the Tetraclinis genus, though the tree has been formerly classified in the Thuja genus, and the scent is very similar to Western Red Cedar (Thuja occidentalis). National tree of Malta. Sometimes called Thyine or Citron wood.


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