Its common names include red cedar, eastern red-cedar, eastern redcedar, 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). Juniperus virginiana is a dense slow-growing coniferous evergreen tree that may never become more than a bush on poor soil, but is ordinarily from 5–20 m tall, with a short trunk 30–100 cm diameter. The oldest tree reported, from West Virginia, was 940 years old. The bark is reddish-brown, fibrous, and peels off in narrow strips. The leaves are of two types; sharp, spreading needle-like juvenile leaves 5–10 cm long, and tightly adpressed scale-like adult leaves 2–4 mm long; they are arranged in opposite decussate pairs or occasionally whorls of three. The juvenile leaves are found on young plants up to 3 years old, and as scattered shoots on adult trees, usually in shade. The seed cones are 3–7 mm long, berry-like, dark purple-blue with a white wax cover giving an overall sky-blue colour (though the wax often rubs off); they contain one to three (rarely up to four) seeds, and are mature in 6–8 months from pollination. The juniper berry is an important winter food for many birds, which disperse the wingless seeds. The pollen cones are 2–3 mm long and 1.5 mm broad, shedding pollen in late winter or early spring. The trees are usually dioecious, with pollen and seed cones on separate trees. A very good specimen for bonsai.
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