Eastern Redcedar (Juniperus virginiana), also known as Virginian juniper, eastern juniper, red juniper, pencil cedar, and aromatic cedar, is a species of juniper native to eastern North America from southeastern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and east of the Great Plains. Further west it is replaced by the related Juniperus scopulorum (Rocky Mountain juniper) and to the southwest by Juniperus ashei (Ashe juniper).
The eastern redcedar is an ancient tree, dating to aboriginal America, where fossil evidence indicates it covered large portions of the continent. Early explorers took note of the tree. Arthur Barlowe and Phillip Amadus were quoted as saying the trees were “the tallest and reddest cedars in the world” when they arrived at Roanoke Island in 1564. Colonial craftsmen lost no time in using the wood from the eastern red cedar for furniture and fences, as it had superior weathering capability and was easy to work with. The wood was a staple of the pencil industry for over a century until supplies became exhausted and the industry switched to more plentiful western cedars.
If Trees Could Sing…
Click here to see Mike Farris talk about one of his favorite trees. Video courtesy of The Nature Conservancy and Mike Farris.
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Photos taken at Old Town June 2022.