Eastern Redcedar

Eastern Red Cedar at South Riding Golf Course in South Riding, Virginia
Attribution: Famartin [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Latin (group) name: Juniperus
Latin (specific) name: Juniperus Virginiana Linnaeus
Average max height: 20' to 50'
Average diameter: 1' to 2'
Associated state: Tennessee
Category: American Woods
The Softwoods - Conifers

The Tree

Eastern Redcedar is usually a medium sized tree from 20 to 50 feet high with a short trunk one to two feet in diameter. Some trees have been found 120 feet high and four feet in diameter. The tree grows rather slowly. The bark is very thin, light-reddish-brown, and from one-eighth to one-quarter inch thick. It is shreddy and peels off in narrow shaggy strips. Because of its reddish bark and wood the Canadian French called the Eastern Redcedar “baton rouge,” meaning red stick, from which the capitol of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, was named. Dark purple-blue berries one-quarter to three-eighths inch in diameter grow on the small, rather flat leaf sprays. These berries possess some medicinal and flavoring properties, and are relished by birds and small forest mammals. The tree is fairly symmetrical and uniformly conical in shape. It is in fact a juniper and not a true cedar species. Eastern Redcedar is one of twelve species of Juniper native to the United States. It is the unofficial State tree of Tennessee.

eastern red cedar berries
Eastern Redcedar berries
tree bark
Eastern Redcedar tree bark
eastern red cedar
Eastern Red Cedar characteristics

Common Names in Use

  • Eastern Red Cedar (trade)
  • Cedar (Conn., Pa., N.J., S.C., Ky., Ill., Iowa, Ohio)
  • Cedre (La)
  • Juniper (N.Y., Pa.)
  • Juniper Bush (Minn.)
  • Red Cedar (N. H., Vt., Mass., R.I., N.Y., N.J., Pa., Del., Va., W.Va., N. C., S.C., Ga., Fla., Ala., Miss., La., * Ky., Mo., Ill., Ind., Wis., Iowa, Mich., Minn., Ohio, Ontario and hort.)
  • Tennessee Red Cedar (trade)

Growth Range

Eastern Redcedar grows through the eastern half of North America from Maine, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, southern Quebec and Ontario to southeastern North Dakota, southward to eastern Texas and eastward to northern Florida. Along the coastal plain from South Carolina to Florida, Eastern Redcedar and Southern Redcedar are difficult to distinguish and are usually marketed as one species.

The Wood

The sapwood of Eastern Redcedar is very narrow and is nearly white, or light-cream color. The heartwood, which generally has many small knots because of the many branches and short trunk, is dull to bright or pinkish-red, sometimes with a purple-red tinge and often streaked a deep reddish-brown. It is highly and pleasantly aromatic. The wood is moderately soft, medium heavy, brittle, fine textured, even in grain, and usually straight except in extremely suppressed trees. It is a favorite wood of the craftsman, for it is very easily worked with all types of tools, has good carving and whittling qualities, stays in place, and takes a beautiful natural finish.

green egg table
Green Egg barbecue table in production
green egg table
Eastern Redcedar Green Egg Table
eastern red cedar
Eastern Red Cedar by Hough


Eastern Redcedar is used chiefly for chests, cabinets, wardrobes and closet lining because of its beautiful coloring, sound knots, which are variable and attractive, and its aromatic fragrance which is reputedly a good preventive for moth destruction, The wood is also a favorite for lead pencils, cigar boxes and is especially in demand for souvenir novelties of all kinds. To a limited extent this wood is used for furniture, canoes and interior finish. The wood is especially durable, making it desirable for cooperage such as buckets, for small boat construction, posts and poles, shingles, and to some extent general building purposes. The available supply for these uses, however, is gradually becoming more limited except for posts. It is well suited to many types of projects of the hobbyist and the homework shop. Cedar leaf oil used in medicine is distilled from the leaves, and Cedar-wood oil is distilled from the twigs and wood.

File References

  ID T Name Size Last modified Actions
355 Juniperus Virginiana Linnaeus
Eastern Red Cedar at South Riding Golf Course in South Riding, Virginia
Attribution: Famartin [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
508.94 KB 02-02-2019
357 Eastern Redcedar Fruit Berries
Eastern Red Cedar fruit along Centerview Drive in Chantilly, Fairfax County, Virginia
Attribution: Famartin [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
255.11 KB 02-02-2019
365 Eastern Red Cedar Characteristics
This image was from the book Important Forest Trees of the Eastern United States From: Trees of North America a Golden Field Guide
Attribution: C. Frank Brookman. Copyright 1968 by Western Publishing Company, Inc
Source: https://www.fs.fed.us/ne/morgantown/4557/gypsymth/h068.html
54.84 KB 02-02-2019
360 Eastern Red Cedar Tree Bark
Eastern Red Cedar Tree Bark
Reference: Price, Homer Edward. Eastern Red Cedar Bark. 8 Oct. 2008. Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/28340342@N08/2925658528/.
329.07 KB 02-02-2019
358 Easern Redcedar Table
Green Egg barbecue table in production, by John Moody Woodworks
Attribution: Craftsman John Moody
Source: http://www.johnmoodywoodworks.com/index.html
283.89 KB 02-02-2019
359 Eastern Redcedar Green Egg Table
Eastern Redcedar Green Egg Table
Attribution: John Moody Woodworks
Source: http://www.johnmoodywoodworks.com/index.html
601.03 KB 02-02-2019
361 Eastern Red Cedar by Hough
Cross section specimens of Eastern Red Cedar.
Reference: Romeyn B. Hough’s American Woods, Volume I. https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/specialcollections/forestry/hough/WoodsPart_I.html. Accessed 3 Feb. 2019.
Source: https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/specialcollections/forestry/hough/vlgimage/plate_25.jpg
91.89 KB 02-02-2019
356 Eastern Redcedar Range Map
Natural distribution map for Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana (eastern redcedar) shown in green and Juniperus virginiana var. silicicola (southern redcedar) shown in red.
Attribution: Elbert L. Little, Jr., of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
267.19 KB 02-02-2019


  • Shelley E. Schoonover (American Woods) 1951 (Watling & Co. ) Santa Monica, CA 

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Page last modified on Friday July 29, 2022 09:56:59 PDT by admin.