This tree is native to Eastern North America. In Missouri it grows in a variety of habitats across the state and is tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions. Even though “cedar” is in its common name, it is not a true cedar; it is a juniper, which means it has fleshy cones instead of the pine-like cones of true cedars (plus several other distinctions). The bark is reddish-brown, fibrous, and peels off in narrow strips. The heartwood is aromatic, and is often used in the making of cedar chests.
This plant is native to Missouri, but it is also considered invasive to some conservationists. Historically Eastern Red Cedars were only present on specific landscapes such as rocky bluffs but now can be found in many different environments. Young Eastern Red Cedars have very little protection against fires. That is why they thrived in areas where fires rarely occured, but since humans have suppressed natural fires for hundreds of years, they have spread rapidly, outcompeting several other natives.
|Common Name||Eastern Red Cedar|
|Latin Name||Juniperus virginiana|