The White Cedar or tebebuia heterophylla is the native cedar on our islands. This tree was important because its wood was used to make the stern, stern posts and frame of our famous Virgin Islands sloops.
White-cedar (Tabebuia heterophylla) is a small to medium-size, mostly deciduous tree with showy pink flowers. It grows on any soil type and will adapt to poor or degraded soils if moisture is available. Valued as a timber tree, it has been widely planted for both reforestation and ornamentation.
White Cedar is found on sand, limestone, and heavy clay soils, acidic or alkaline in reaction, and residual, alluvial, or colluvial in origin. It appears to grow best, however, on deep clays. White Cedar is a cosmopolitan species and is found on all soils presently identified within the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The most common soil order on the island is Inceptisols. Physiographically, it is most common on slopes and ridges but is also found on flats.
In the BVI, White Cedar grows in relatively poor sites to provide cover and to improve the soil. It is recommended for planting on uniform and convex slopes and ridges, where trials have shown it to be a promising species for reforestation. It has also done well on humid, waterlogged sites, such as areas near Sage Mountain, and other mountainous areas.