Eastern Red Cedar

Juniperus virginiana


Other Names:
Red Cedar, Virginian Juniper, Eastern Juniper, Red Juniper, Pencil Cedar, Aromatic Cedar

The Eastern Red Cedar is a native conifer tree that grows throughout Virginia. The Cedar Waxwing is fond of the fruit, and the seeds take about 12 minutes to pass through the bird's digestive system. Seeds that have been consumed by waxwings are about three times more likely to germinate than seeds that have not. The Eastern Red Cedar is actually a juniper tree — North America does not have any native cedar trees. The "cedar chests" and "cedar chips" that are sold are usually made out of junipers. In Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, Eastern Red Cedars are often used as Christmas trees. The wood of the Eastern Red Cedar is fragrant, and it is a preferred for making pencils. And juniper berries are used to distill gin. In fact, the word "gin" is thought to derive from either a Dutch or a French word for juniper. The word "still", the apparatus sometimes used to make gin, is a variant of "distill".

Identification Tools

Illinois Wildflowers Friends of the Wildflower Garden Go Botany


North America Virginia

A young Red Cedar
Most Red Cedars in the park are very young and look like this

Red Cedar
An older Red Cedar

Red Ceder berries
Red Cedar berries, which can be used to distill gin

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