The Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis), also called tree of life or Northern white cedar, is a small- to medium-height (30-45 ft) tree with small, scale-like leaves covering flat fan-like branches spread upward and sideways. The fruit of the tree is a seed cone with two pairs of scales (brown when mature). Cones are upright on twigs and persist up to one year. Wood is used for small poles, fence posts, and cedar-strip canoes. Although the dry wood is resistant to decay, the living trees are subject to heart-rot; consequently, may trees have hollow trunks. The tree, native to North America, was brought to France in 1534 by French explorers who had learned from indigenous people along the St. Lawrence River that a boiled concoction made from its greenery cured scurvy. It was thus named “l’arbor de vie” by the King Francis I and planted in medicinal plant gardens all over Europe.