Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

Eastern Red Cedar

Family: Rose (Rosaceae)

Common Names: Red cedar, Aromatic cedar, Red juniper, Savin

The eastern red cedar is not a true cedar (genus Cedrus), it is actually a variety of juniper and a member of the cypress family. It occurs naturally as an upright tree with many small branches, curving sharply upward. It can reach a height of 30 feet and width of 15 feet when found in the open. The foliage is bright green to dark green.

The sapwood is white or light brown. The heartwood is red, ranging from red-brown to red-purple. The wood of the red cedar is fragrant and is used extensively for the manufacture of aromatic oil and furniture — primarily closet linings and panels.

The wood has a natural resistance to rot and insect infestation, and for that reason is often used locally as fence posts. We can find no evidence of use a roofing shakes or shingles, or exterior trim boards; although the wood seems ideal for those uses.

Eastern Red Cedar Although included in this list because of its used in interior finishing, Red Cedar is actually classified as a softwood. It is easy to work with power or hand tools. Accepts nails and screws readily. Generally it is neither stained, sealed nor finished to preserve its aroma. Click to Enlarge Image

Wall cabinet
Cedar wall cabinet by Architectural Woodwork.


Red cedar is prized for making cedar chests, cedar shavings, small carvings, pencils, non-rotting fence posts, outdoor furniture, birdhouses and as wood for bows. The wood is frequently used as closet paneling and to build closet shelving and organizer modules.