Eastern Red Cedar Tree



Botanical Name:   Juniperus virginiana

Common Name:  Eastern Red Cedar, Eastern Redcedar, Virginia Juniper, Red Juniper, Pencil Cedar, Carolina Cedar, Red Savin, Baton Rouge

Description:  The Eastern Red Cedar is a Florida native tree/shrub. It is a very dense columnar ornamental that provides excellent wildlife habitat and that can also act as a windbreak. Foliage varies in shades of green and is fragrant. Foliage usually develops a purple to brownish cast during winter months. Eastern red cedars grow in sun or part sun and need a well-drained soil for best results. They become quite open and leggy in shade, which is ok if that’s the look you’re going for. It is adaptable to a wide range of soil pH. These grow 40-50′ tall x 20′ wide at a medium rate of 13-24″ per year. They can be limbed up to give it more of a tree form or left to branch out from the base of the tree upwards. Evergreen.

Grows in these soil types:  Dry, limestone soils (adaptable). Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam Clay Loam, Clay, Rocky, Limestone-based, Caliche type.

The juicy berries are consumed by many kinds of wildlife, including the cedar waxwing which is named for this tree. The fruits are a staple for many birds and small mammals. Also provides nesting material and cover. It is the host plant for the Olive butterfly.

The females produce beautiful blue berries. Male and female conelets are borne on separate trees in February or March, at the ends of the smallest twigs. When releasing their pollen, male trees appear golden-colored. They are pollinated by the wind.

Food and Medicinal Uses: 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.

Tea of fruits and leaves for coughs and colds. Berries chewed for canker sores in mouth. Creeks and Choctaws drank oil from red cedar berries for dysentery. Boiled fruit and leaves make a drink for colds and coughs. Smoke from smoldering leafy twigs inhaled for head colds. Kiowas chewed berries and held liquid in mouth as a mild antiseptic rinse. An unnamed part of this juniper was used by Natchez as a specific for mumps. Zuni women took juniper berries to promote uterine recovery after childbirth. Treated wound infections and arthritis. Smoke from the leaves was used as an inhalant to treat colds, bronchitis and rheumatism. It is thought to contain an anticancer agent, podophyllocotoxin. Fruit tea used for colds, worms, rheumatism, coughs, induce sweating. Leaf smoke or steam inhaled for colds, bronchitis, rheumatism.

Cedar-Apple Rust:  Red Cedar is the alternate host of a fungus — cedar apple rust — that produces an alien-looking, orange, fleshy fruiting body during prolonged wet weather. Eastern Red Cedars and apple trees or crabapple trees need to be planted at least 500′ away from each other to stop the spread of this fungus’ spores.

Tolerant of occasional/brief inundation such as can occur in storm surges. Can tolerate significant and ongoing amounts of salty wind and salt spray without injury.

This plant in 1-gallon containers is 8-15″ tall.

This plant in 3-gallon containers is 1-3′ tall.

This plant in 7-gallon containers is 3-4′ tall.

This plant in 15-gallon containers is 5-7′ tall.

Plant Lore:  Heartwood is distinctly red or red-brown, the sap­wood white, which makes for a very striking effect when finished for interior woodwork. The wood is aromatic, soft, strong, even-textured, and very durable in contact with the soil. It is used for posts, poles, woodenware, millwork, paneling, closets, chests, and pencils. Baton Rouge, LA is named for this wood and literally means “red stick” in French.

Florida Hardiness Zone 8 – 9


Additional information

Container Size

1-gallon, 15-gallon, 3-gallon, 7-gallon


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