Juniperus virginiana Cupressaceae
Eastern Redcedar, Pencil Cedar ju-NIP-er-us ver-jin-ee-A-na
- Conifer, evergreen tree, 40-50 ft (12-15 m) high, densely pyramidal when young, slightly pendulous with age; variable in habit. Bark gray to red-brown, exfoliating in long strips. Leaves may be needles or scale-like, needles are sharp, awl-shaped, to 12 mm long and in whorls of three, found on older trees, scale leaves are opposite, arranged in 4 ranks, closely pressed and overlapping, 1.5-2.0 mm long, medium green in summer and dirty green, brown in winter, needles and scale leaves often on the same branch, bruised leaves have cedar chest odor. Usually dioecious - male and female trees. Fruit (seed cones, "berries"), 6 mm wide, dark blue with a whitish bloom, 1-3 seeded, ripen in autumn in their first year.
- Sun. Tolerant of adverse conditions, but prefers a deep, moist, well-drained loam soil.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 2 Native to eastern and central North America to Rocky Mountains; the most widely distributed conifer of the eastern U.S. and the only juniper species east of the Mississippi River. At least three botanical varieties are recognized (J. v. var. virginiana, var. crebra , and var. ambigens). Eastern Redcedar hybridizes with many other juniper species, including the closely related Rocky Mountain juniper (J. scopulorum), as well as J. mexicana, J.
chinensis, creeping juniper (J. horizontalis), southern redcedar (J.
silicicola), and Ashe juniper (J. ashei).
Many selections have been or are commercially available, including:
- Blue Arrow - narrow growth habit, to 12-15 ft tall, 2 ft wide (~3.6-4.5 ×0.6 m),
- Burkii - excellent blue foliage that turns purple in winter, male, pyramidal, to 15-25 ft (4.5-7.5 m) tall.
- Canaertii - compact pyramidal form, 15-20 ft (4.5-6 m) tall, opens with age becoming picturesque, dark green foliage, abundant, small cones with whitish bloom.
- Emerald SentinelTM - columnar, emerald
green all year, 15-20 ft (4.5-6 m) tall,.
- Glauca - columnar form, narrow, to 25 ft (7.5 m), blue-green foliage,
silver-blue in spring.
- Grey Owl - found in a batch of J. virginiana Glauca seedlings, possibly a hybrid between Glauca and J. chinensis Pfitzeriana.
- Hillii - dense and columnar, slow growing to 15-20 ft (4.5-6 m),
leaves awl-shaped with a bluish-white band above, greenish-blue below, foliage pale bluish-green turning
purplish-plum in fall, a male.
- Hillspire (Cupressifolia ) - male, columnar or
pyramidal, 20 ft (6 m) or more, dark green even in winter.
- Manhattan Blue - compact broad pyramid, 15-20 ft (4.5-6 m) tall,
bluish-green foliage, female.
- Pendula - oval form, grows to 35-45 ft
(10-14 m) tall and 15-25 ft (4.5-7.5 m)wide; branchlet and secondary branches droop, producing a weeping
habit; green foliage, develops a brownish tint in winter; female clone, produces abundant fruit ("berries").
Possibly more than one clone sold under this name.
- Skyrocket - very narrow spire, to 25 ft (7.5 m), only 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 m)
wide, blue-gray foliage; male. Some specimens are not slender, possibly because of growing
conditions or propagation method (Jacobson, 1996). 'Skyrocket' was once classified under
J. scopulorum and later assigned to the J. virginiana. 'Blue Arrow' is
considered an improved form of "Skyrocket'.