- Common Name(s):
- Eastern red cedar
- Native Plants, Poisonous Plants, Trees
Juniperus virginiana, commonly called Eastern red cedar, is a broadly conical, sometimes columnar, dense, evergreen conifer with horizontal branching that typically grows to 30-65’ tall. Its gray to reddish-brown bark exfoliates in thin shreddy strips on mature trees. Its trunks are often fluted at the base.
The heartwood is light brown and aromatic and is commonly used for cedar chests. Wood is often used to make fence posts and rails as it is naturally rot resistant.
This tree is an easy to transplant, tough, dependable tree, but considered weedy by many gardeners. It is highly salt tolerant.
Regions: Mountian, Piedmont, Coastal Plains
Seasons of Interest:
Wildlife Value: The Eastern red cedar proved winter cover. It is a host plant for the Juniper Hairstreak butterfly. Songbirds and small mammals eat the fruits. This tree is moderately resistant to damage done by deer.
Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: This tree is susceptible to twig blight and scale. Bagworms are also a problem. Mites may occur.
- Evergreen tree; leaves opposite, awn- or awl-like in juvenile growth and scale-like and overlapping in mature growth; pollen cones small and yellowish on male trees; seed cones ("berries") bluish on female trees.
- 30-40 ft.
- This is a dioecious species (separate male and female trees). The female trees produce round, gray to blackish-green berry-like cones (1/4” diameter) that ripen in fall the first year.
- The Eastern redcedar is easily grown in average, dry to moist, well-drained soils in full sun. It will tolerate a wide range of soils and growing conditions, from swamps to dry rocky glades. It prefers moist soils but is intolerant of constantly wet soils. It has the best drought resistance of any conifer native to the eastern U.S.
- Fine to medium
- Upright; densely pyramidal; becomes irregular and slightly pendulous with age
- Sun, part shade
- Berry like cones
- USA, NC
- Poison Part:
- Fleshy cones (resemble berries), leaves.
- Poison Delivery Mode:
- Large amounts may cause diarrhea.
- EDIBLE PARTS: Juniper tea can be made by placing a dozen young berryless twigs in a quart of cold water; bring to a boil then allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and use as regular tea, in small quantities. SOURCE: Angier, B. 1974. Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants. Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, Pa, 255 pp.
- Toxic Principle:
- Volatile oils including thujone.
- CAUSES ONLY LOW TOXICITY IF EATEN.
- Found in:
- Forest or natural area in open, dry woods, weedy in disturbed areas in fields, pastures, fence rows; landscape cultivated as small tree, Christmas tree
- 10-20 ft.
- The Eastern redcedar has Dark blue-green scale-like foliage. The foliage may turn brown-green in winter. Cultivars of this species often retain better foliage color in winter.
NCCES plant id: 1075