Eastern Red Cedar

Juniperus virginiana

Eastern Red Cedar is very closely related to the Common Juniper, in fact they are in the same genus. The key obvious difference is that Juniper seldom grows as a tree, whereas Red Cedar nearly always does. This specimen was found just west of the Bernstein-Marcus Administrative building at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA.
Red Cedar leaves are very similar to Juniper leaves. They are scale-like but not flattened and they can also appear as three-sided needle-like leaves.
This is the three-sided type of leaf found on the Eastern Red Cedar and also on the Common Juniper.
Red Cedar fruits are small, blue and berry-like. When crushed, the berries are aromatic and smell like gin as the flavoring of gin is derived from the berries of the related juniper.
The bark of the Eastern Red Cedar is papery and it peels off of the trunk in long strips. The trunk is also not perfectly round, but is furrowed.

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