and Deciduous Forest Trees
of Southern Ontario

Eastern Red Cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Location in Ontario:
Even though Juniperus virginiana is known as Eastern Red "Cedar", it is not a true cedar. True cedars grow only in the western Himalayas and the Mediterranean. Eastern Red Cedar is found throughout the Deciduous Forest Region, along Lake Huron, Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River.

Young Red Cedar, Long Point Provincial Park,
Norfolk County

Genus Juniperus: This genus is made up of small trees or shrubs that are evergreen. Leaves are scales or needles. Pollen cones are catkin-like, seed cones are globular, becoming berry-like, fragrant and dark blue. In Southern Ontario, Eastern Red Cedar is the only Juniperus of tree size.

Habitat: Found on rocky ridges and dry, sandy soil.

Landscape Use: Eastern Red Cedar is a small tree that can be used as a windbreak, but Eastern White Cedar is more commonly used for this purpose. Eastern Red Cedar makes a nice, evergreen lawn specimen with its pretty blue berry-like cones.

TREE FACT: Pelee Island once had large stands of red cedar which were cut down and shipped to Welland, where they were used to build the Welland Canal.

Leaves: This coniferous tree has leaves that are scales.

Size: This very small tree grows up to 10 metres. Trees can live to be 300 years old!

Bark: The bark is reddish-brown with shreds.

Cones: The seeds are in cones that are dark blue and resemble berries. The cones are coated with a whitish powder. Cones are produced after 10 years of growth, every 2 to 3 years.

Wood: The wood is moderately heavy and hard.
Specific gravity: 0.47
Janka Hardness: 900 lb
Wood Comparison Chart

Red Cedar wood is strongly aromatic and resistant to decay.

TREE FACT: The wood is widely used for cedar chests, cabinets and fence posts.

Large Red Cedar at St. Williams Nursery and Ecology Centre, Norfolk County