Juniperus virginiana (Eastern Redcedar)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Eastern Redcedar’s dense foliage provides excellent roosting/nesting cover for birds, and wildlife favor its fruit. This long-lived juniper, which is native to eastern North America,* was prized by Virginia colonists for its wood. Today, its wood is valued as a closet/chest lining; oils are distilled for use in fragrances; and the fruit gives gin its characteristic flavor.

*In the Mid-Atlantic Region, it is native in DC, portions of MD and southeastern PA. It is common in DE and throughout VA except at the higher mountain elevations.

Print Version (Legal Size): Juniperus virginiana (Eastern Redcedar)

Tree Height: 50–70 feet Spread: 35–50 feet Bloom Color: Yellow-green from April-May Characteristics Fast-growing, deciduous tree with single or (more desirable) multiple trunks, irregular crown Oval or triangular leaves 1–12⁄3 inches long, alternate, simple Male flowers: 2–3 inches long, red-green catkins Female flowers: 1⁄4–1⁄2 inch long, light-green upright catkins, which become cone-like fruits Young trunks have exfoliating, reddish bark; older trunks are a deeply furrowed gray with pink tints Attributes Tolerates clay soil, wet soil, drier soil, compacted sites, heat, and air pollution; intolerant of shade Greater pest and disease resistance than other birches; deer rarely damage Attractive bark peels in papery layers to reveal multiple colors, providing interest in winter & snow Attracts birds to its seeds; larval host of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and Red-spotted Purple butterflies and numerous moth species Growing and Maintenance Tips Soil Requirements: Humus-rich, acidic soil Light Requirements: Sun, Partial Shade Water Requirements: Moist, Wet Use as a lawn tree, in rain gardens (larger than 150 sq ft) or on stream banks (to control erosion) Hardiness: USDA Zones 4–9 Excellent Replacement for Albizia julibrissin - Mimosa / Silk Tree Allanthus altissima - Tree of Heaven Alnus glutinosa - European Alder Pyrus calleriana - Callery (Bradford) Pear Salix babylonica - Weeping Willow

Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets