Here in India Thuja plant is considered an auspicious tree/shrub – Morpankhi and is linked to knowledge diety and I remember keeping its twigs in between book pages as a child. The male cones were plucked and pollen isolated to see under foldscope.
Thuja – an evergreen, coniferous tree belongs to family cupressaceae ( Cypress family). Most species of Thuja are commonly known as ‘arborvitae’, the Latin word meaning ‘tree of life’ as it has immense medicinal importance. The species of this genus are widely grown as ornamental trees, hedge plants or as landscape trees.
The shoots are usually flat with side shoots in a single plane. Leaves are scale-like, forming flattened fan shape groupings with resin glands and are arranged in alternating decussate pairs in 4 rows.along the twigs.. The male cones are small and located at the tips of the twigs. These pollen cones are oblong and bear 4-6 pairs of overlapping scale leaves also called sporophylls of which only the central 2-3 pairs are fertile.
The seed cones are however larger than the pollen cones and ellipsoid with 6-12 overlapping leathery scales, with each scale bearing 1-2 small seeds with a pair of narrow lateral wings