Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Eastern Red Cedar
Give a thumbs up Virginia Juniper
Give a thumbs up Eastern Redcedar
Give a thumbs up Red Cedar
Give a thumbs up Red Cedar Juniper
Give a thumbs up Pencil Cedar
Give a thumbs up Baton Rouge
Give a thumbs up Southern Red Cedar

Botanical names:
Juniperus virginiana Accepted
Sabina virginiana Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Partial Shade to Full Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Dry
Soil pH Preferences: Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Plant Height: 30 to 60 feet (9-18 m)
Plant Spread: 10 to 20 feet (3-6m)
Leaves: Evergreen
Fragrant
Needled
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Other: fruit is blue/purple less than 1/2" length
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Fall
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Color: Green
Yellow
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Spring
Underground structures: Taproot
Suitable Locations: Street Tree
Xeriscapic
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Provides winter interest
Culinary Herb
Medicinal Herb
Will Naturalize
Useful for timber production
Edible Parts: Stem
Leaves
Fruit
Eating Methods: Tea
Wildlife Attractant: Birds
Butterflies
Resistances: Tolerates dry shade
Drought tolerant
Salt tolerant
Toxicity: Leaves are poisonous
Fruit is poisonous
Other: small amounts seem to be okay but ingesting large amounts may cause diarrhea
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds
Other info: Trees usually dioecious
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Tip
Cuttings: Root
Pollinators: Wind
Containers: Not suitable for containers
Miscellaneous: Dioecious

An old gnarled cedar trunk

All About the Eastern Red CedarAll About the Eastern Red Cedar
November 23, 2011

If I were asked what I love most about this tree, I probably couldn't give just one attribute, but the first thing that comes to mind is how much I enjoy the pleasant fragrance the tree emits, and how its handsome stature makes a perfect Christmas tree. But then maybe it's because it's so beneficial to songbirds and other wildlife, protecting and feeding so many over winter. Or maybe it's how much history the tree has, or how it provides medicine for many.

(Full article34 comments)
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Comments:
Posted by gingin (Fountain, Florida - Zone 8b) on Nov 11, 2011 1:37 PM

At Christmas when I make wreaths, I add cuttings of this...the blue of the berries adds color and interest.

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Posted by Sharon (Calvert City, KY - Zone 7a) on Nov 23, 2011 1:49 PM

The red cedar tree has a tremendous history, both legendary as well as medicinal. Our Native American ancestors used teas made from it as various cures for ailments, but the cedar chippings themselves with their aromatic scent were used as well. In Appalachia, a mixture of nuts, leaves, and cedar twigs is often still boiled and inhaled as a treatment for bronchitis.

Sources tell me that cedarwood oil is used in insect repellants, perfumes and soaps. Cedar chips have been used as moth repellants. The oil also shows up in furniture polish. These are some of the same uses that I grew up with in the southern Appalachians. We also used cedar chips as bedding for our dogs.

It was also considered to be a revered tree, holy, because the souls of ancestors resided within the tree. Legend has it that it remains evergreen because of those souls. It's a beautiful tree with an unusual history. Where it grows wild, seedlings sprout nearby in abundance.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Jan 15, 2018 7:10 PM

The Eastern Redcedar Juniper is a common species growing in upland locations on hills, slopes, and fields in a large native range from southern Maine down to just over the north Florida border into east Texas up to western Nebraska, to eastern South Dakota & southern Minnesota to southern Wisconsin & Michigan into the southern tip of Ontario. The sort of prickly foliage is made of younger awl-like needles and older, soft scale-like needles bluish or grayish or bright green. It reproduces by tiny yellowish male cones on all male trees and by tiny red-purple female cones on all female plants borne in spring. The female plants bear gray or blue berry-like cones that are loved by birds and small mammals. It grows about 1 foot/year and lives about 300 years. It has shallow, fibrous roots and yet develops a taproot, but can be transplanted in spring or fall. This American species often is infected with the Cedar Rust fungus that originally came over from east Asia, but does not damage the juniper, only developing a rounded brown gall housing the spores. (The similar Chinese Juniper does not show any galls or at least any big ones.) After being released during wet weather in spring, the spores infect various members of the huge Rose Family as Apples, Crabapples, Serviceberry, Hawthorns, Pears, and Floweringquince, where the foliage of the deciduous plants become spotted with yellow and brown spots in late summer and fall. Otherwise, this is a good quality, reliable coniferous tree. There are a number of compact and dwarf cultivars that have been taken from this species.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Heartwood by Mindy03 Nov 23, 2011 1:31 PM 0
Bagworms WANTED: yes you read it right! by GregC Nov 28, 2018 12:58 PM 17
Bug spoiled a whole plant, spreading to others, flying on house wall by ramyagaddam Jun 21, 2018 9:00 AM 8
Identifying Purple "Pine" by Mgmartin8 Jan 30, 2018 9:54 PM 2
Plant identification. Help please. by AlwaysGreen Jan 6, 2018 4:59 PM 5
vines hardy winds by beverlyjorge Jun 18, 2017 1:09 PM 1
2017 Spring Plant Swap CHAT by RickM Jun 2, 2017 3:39 PM 443
Merry Christmas to All - 2016 by RickM Jan 3, 2017 9:07 PM 43
Mystery plant by Everyday Dec 20, 2016 11:13 AM 18
Untitled by xoxomonisia Sep 10, 2016 6:23 PM 2
Help identifying a plant by Ngockers Jun 5, 2016 5:47 PM 3

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