The Eastern Redcedar
is to many people in the South the traditional
Christmas tree. One characteristic people love is the cedar aroma. The
needles are very small and are usually arranged in opposing pairs along
the branchlets. They are a medium green to bronze green color. It is not
uncommon to find blue berries on the tree. These berries are a favorite
food for birds. The birds digest the fleshy part of the fruit and pass
the hard shell seeds anywhere they sit. We used to buy Redcedar
seedlings for replacement trees. Today we dig seedlings that have grown
from the seeds deposited by bird under trees around our farm.
This tree scientific
name tells us the tree is not a true cedar but a member of the juniper
family. Numerous cultivars of Eastern Redcedar are grown for landscape
purposes. We actually have one tree that is being tested as a cultivar
that has soft needles.