This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
This fine evergreen tree, the "White Cedar" of the Americans, and the only species of the genus of undoubted hardiness in our climate, is perhaps still best known in collections under its original, and certainly most expressive, name, "Cupressus Thyoides," or Thuja-like Cypress. It is a native of Canada and the United States, where, particularly in the maritime districts, it has a wide distribution, covering vast tracts of low swampy land, and growing with a straight tapering trunk to a height of some 70 or 80 feet. The wood is light, fine-grained, and easily wrought, and is said to resist the influence of the weather better, and to be more durable for outdoor purposes, than any of the other American firs.
Though introduced into this country so long ago as 1736, and since then freely planted for pleasure-ground decoration, it has rarely, if ever, been found to grow higher than a moderate-sized shrub, and it is only as such that it can be recommended to cultivators. In congenial circumstances, however, it is exceedingly handsome, and forms a neat distinct-looking specimen, very hardy, and by no means fastidious as to soil, provided the subsoil is cool and naturally damp, and stiff rather than gritty and porous. In general appearance it resembles some of the Arborvitaes or Cypresses, or rather a combination of the characters of both, those of the latter being the most prominent. The habit of growth is close, bushy, and sharply conical, the abundant branches, divided into short, twiggy, fan-shaped branchlets, densely covered with short scale-like leaves of a bright glaucous-green hue.
The following varieties which have occurred from time to time among seedlings are really distinct, and deservedly popular among collectors of fine shrubs: Atrovirens differs only from the species in the colour of the foliage, which, instead of being glaucous, is bright green; Glauca has a dwarfer and more compact habit, with a more decidedly silvery-glaucous colour, which it retains all over the year; Variegata has its green branchlets freely intermixed with golden yellow, and is one of the prettiest of variegated Conifers, forming a conspicuous and exceedingly beautiful lawn specimen-plant.