Juniperus virginana (syn. Juniperus silicicola) - Eastern red cedar
About fifty species of Juniperus
are native to Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America.
They are evergreen shrubs and trees. Several Juniperus species are grown as garden plants. Eastern red cedar is native
to the eastern and central United
States. It is a very adaptable plant that
tends to grow well in disturbed sites where competition from other trees is
low. Young trees are conical in shape but develop spreading crowns with age. It
is heavily branched with small, awl-shaped leaves held close to the branches.
Seeds are borned in fleshy, blue strobili that are sometimes called juniper
berries. These strobili are eaten by fruit-eating birds like cedar waxwings.
The strobili of a European species are used to flavor gin. The fragrant wood
has been used for a wide variety of purposes. Numerous medicinal uses for the
tree by native Americans are recorded.
Plants are uncommon but may be seen in the drier natural areas on campus. Cultivar ‘Blue Arrow’ is planted on the south side of parking garage 44. It is a slender, upright plant with blue-green foliage, reported to be shorter than the species and only two feet wide.
A medium-sized tree for the garden capable of reaching about seventy feet tall in the wild.
Water: usually in a well-drained soil, drought tolerant, grows faster when irrigated
Soil: surprisingly adaptable to soil types, no special requirements
This native tree grows best in Jacksonville in a sunny, well-drained site. Wild plants are variable in shape, leaf color and other qualities. Some forms have been selected and named for garden use. It was harvested heavily in Florida for use in the manufacture of pencils and for its aromatic wood.