Juniperus virginiana, Eastern Redcedar

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

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

Print Version: 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